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Tipsheet

Obama's Ambassador to China Says Trump Criticizing Them for the Virus Is Like Hitler Rising to Power

Jason Lee/Pool Photo via AP

Former President Barack Obama's ambassador to China Max Baucus told CNN on Wednesday that President Trump's harsh rhetoric towards the Chinese Communist Party for mishandling the outbreak of the Wuhan coronavirus is similar to Adolf Hitler's rhetoric towards minorities during his rise to power in 1930s Germany. 

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Trump has grown increasingly frustrated with China as evidence mounts that COVID-19 escaped from a laboratory in Wuhan and the government tried to coverup its failed efforts to stop the virus from spreading.

"This is not rocket science. Here is what really concerns me. The administration rhetoric is so strong against China, it’s over the top. We’re entering a kind of an era which is similar to Joe McCarthy back when he was red-baiting. And State Department attacking communism, a little bit like Hitler in the ‘30s, that a lot of people knew what was going on was wrong. They knew it was wrong but they didn’t stand up and say anything about it. They felt intimidated," Baucus, who also served a Democratic senator from Montana, said.

"And now the United States has been in place, says anything reasonable about China, feels intimidated, like the head’s going to be chopped off. And back in the ‘30s in Germany it’s very similar. People who were responsible in the U.S. and especially responsible in Germany couldn’t speak up," he continued. "And I worry that some of that’s happening now, and it’s very dangerous. And I think it’s in part because the Republican administration, Donald Trump, realizes that the economy is not doing well, probably because of the Coronavirus and therefore they have to pivot, they have to blame somebody and they’re blaming China. And it is very difficult to get back on track after the election, whoever’s elected."

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CNN International anchor Hala Gorani told Baucus that comparing the United States to 1930s Germany was "provocative" as it set the stage for the destructive World War II. 

"I think we are moving in that direction. And I — I’m not saying we’re there yet, but there are a lot of very responsible people in America who know that this China bashing is irresponsible and that we’re going to pay a price the more it continues. That’s what I’m saying. They’re afraid to speak up," Baucus said.

Through his consulting firm, Baucus Group LLC, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says Baucus provides consulting services to American and Chinese businesses, along with serving on the Board of Directors of Ingram Micro and the Board of Advisors to Alibaba Group.

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