The leading contender for the Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, said Tuesday that comparisons between the pledge of support he has enacted at his rallies and the Nazi “heil” salute are “ridiculous.”
“I don’t know about the Hitler comparison. I hadn’t heard that, but it’s a terrible comparison. I’m not happy about that certainly,” Trump said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
Reporting on Trump’s response to media queries on the matter, CNN Wire / KTLA noted that the billionaire has recently started asking voters to raise their right hand and pledge to support him — creating an image that reminds some of the infamous Nazi salute.
In the course of an interview on NBC’s “Today Show,” host Matt Lauer asked Trump to think about the historical context of the image.
Trump at first called the “a big stretch,” and insisted that the supporters at the rallies were just “having fun.”
“Well, I think it’s ridiculous, I mean we’re having such a great time,” Trump said. “Sometimes we’ll do it for fun, and they’ll start screaming at me, ‘do the swear-in, do the swear-in!’ ”
“Honestly until this phone call, I didn’t know it was a problem,” he added. “That this would be brought up this morning, I’m surprised to hear it.”
When asked if he would stop asking supporters to make the pledge now that he was aware of the claims against it, Trump said, “Well, I’ll certainly look into it.”
“I mean I’d like to find out that that’s true, but I would certainly look into it, because I don’t want to offend anybody. But I can tell you that it’s been amazingly received, but I will certainly look into that.”
Trump also spoke about the matter on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
“I say jokingly, ‘Raise your hand if you swear to endorse me,’ ” he said. “The entire place is practically laughing and having a good time. They’re raising their hands in the form of a vote, not in the form of a salute.”