CNN Host Helpfully Tees Up Jim Clyburn to Compare U.S. to Nazi Germany

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On Friday evening’s The Situation Room, the new CNN was again looking like the old CNN as fill-in host Brianna Keilar helpfully invited House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) to expand on recent comments comparing the U.S. to the lead-up to Nazi Germany in the early 1930s.

After Clyburn complained about some of the reactions by Republicans to the recent attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Keilar followed up:

Part of what we’ve seen happen here recently — that is part of why you recently compared America right now to Germany in the early 1930s. That’s what you said. And you said that we’re on track to repeat what happened in Germany here in America. Can you explain what you see happening here in America that prompted you to say that?

The Democrat congressman began by portraying himself as an expert on history: “All you have to do is look at history. Remember, I studied history all of my life. I used to teach it. And what I see lining up in this country — and there are a lot of people who are beginning to say this now…”

After patting himself on the back for predicting that President Donald Trump would resist conceding an election defeat, Clyburn repeated a discredited myth that Georgia Republicans made it illegal to provide water to people standing in line to vote:

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And I’ll tell you something else: If the voters do not intercede, we are going to see this democracy come to a crashing halt. This democracy has existed because people have been free to participate in it. When you’re setting up committees that can overturn the results of an election, that is what autocracies are born of. When you’re saying we’re going to make it a crime to give anybody a bottle of water standing in line for four or five hours, that’s the kind of stuff that autocracies are made of. That’s what I’m talking about.

As he concluded, in spite of his previous claims of being an expert at history, Clyburn incorrectly claimed that Adolf Hitler was “duly elected” chancellor of Germany even though he was actually appointed by Germany’s president. And then Hitler “went about the business of discrediting the press. What did the former President say? The press is “the enemy of the people.” That’s what autocracies are made of.”

Keilar gave no pushback to his mudslinging comparison of Republicans to Nazis as she then just concluded the segment: “Congressman James Clyburn, thank you so much for your time this evening.”

This episode of CNN’s The Situation Room was sponsored in part by Sleep Number and T-Mobile. Their contact information is linked.

Transcript follows:

CNN’s The Situation Room

November 4, 2022

5:25 p.m. Eastern

CONGRESSMAN JAMES CLYBURN (HOUSE MAJORITY WHIP): So people will start pushing all of these lies. What is happening to our country? Where is the goodness that has always been a part, irrespective of where we stood on these issues? Alexis de Tocqueville told us years ago, “If we lose our goodness, we are going to lose our greatness.” That is just how simple it is.

BRIANNA KEILAR: Let me — part of what we’ve seen happen here recently — that is part of why you recently compared America right now to Germany in the early 1930s. That’s what you said. And you said that we’re on track to repeat what happened in Germany here in America. Can you explain what you see happening here in America that prompted you to say that?

CLYBURN: All you have to do is look at history. Remember, I studied history all of my life. I used to teach it. And what I see lining up in this country — and there are a lot of people who are beginning to say this now — I’ve been saying it back since 2018 — when I said that Trump was not planning to give up the presidency, a lot of people gave me a hard time for having said that. Now, we see on January 6 he was not planning to give up the presidency. 

And I’ll tell you something else: If the voters do not intercede, we are going to see this democracy come to a crashing halt. This democracy has existed because people have been free to participate in it. When you’re setting up committees that can overturn the results of an election, that is what autocracies are born of. When you’re saying we’re going to make it a crime to give anybody a bottle of water standing in line for four or five hours, that’s the kind of stuff that autocracies are made of. That’s what I’m talking about.

So you go back and look at Germany, who duly elected Adolf Hitler to be their chancellor, and then he went about the business of discrediting the press. What did the former President say? The press is “the enemy of the people.” That’s what autocracies are made of. We’ve better get real.

KEILAR: Congressman James Clyburn, thank you so much for your time this evening.

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