Rachel Maddow, speaking about Trump's inaugural speech, said, "There was an America First Committee that formed in this country. Hundreds of thousands of people in this country, some of the richest businessmen in the country, were a part of it. They were formed to keep us out of World War II. They were infiltrated by the Nazis. Many of them were anti-Semitic – part of why they weren't alarmed by Hitler's rise in Germany."
The opposition to Trump says on the one hand that he is too challenging and militaristic, while on the other, as in the case of Miss Maddow, that by repeating the words "America first," he identifies himself with an isolationist group that existed more than 75 years ago. The America First group she mentions was not necessarily pro-Nazi, but it was isolationist for a number of different reasons. The fact is, Germany declared war on us only after we declared war on Japan. So does that mean that FDR, desiring to keep us out of war while preparing for that contingency, as well as the America First Committee, was isolationist or pro-Nazi? Hardly. That's why comments like Maddow's are more hype than reason-based.
There is no hint of anti-Semitism in Trump's life or public statements. Further, to suggest that his patriotism is dark and Nazi-like means that Maddow has not studied the difference between "Deutschland über alles" and the spirit embodied in the patriotism of, say, "America the Beautiful" or "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." Hitler's love of country was based on pagan Germanic mythology from the pre-Christian era and, in the geopolitical realm, by his desire for "lebensraum" (living space) for an expanding German population.
The idea of a master race was openly appropriated by Hitler but is not anywhere present in Trump's rhetoric, nor is it in evident in his life. Is he anti-gay because he married women, not men? Is he anti-black because he did not adopt black children?
This is the kind of perverse and hostile reasoning we see too much in today's leftist critiques of the president. I have taught history for the better part of 50 years, including a stint of teaching American history at Harvard. Miss Maddow's reasoning and historical perspective are sorely in need of upgrading.