The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

One of Trump’s most vocal black supporters seemed to defend Hitler in a recent speech

‘If Hitler just wanted to make Germany great and have things run well, okay, fine,’ Candace Owens told a London audience. ‘The problem is that he wanted, he had dreams outside of Germany.’

Conservative commentator Candace Owens speaks at the Turning Point USA Young Women's Leadership Summit in Dallas on June 16. (Laura Buckman for The Washington Post)

There aren’t too many black Americans willing to vouch for President Trump’s Make America Great Again agenda. And those who do often find themselves in hot water, even on diversity issues.

The latest example is Candace Owens. She is one of the president’s best-known black supporters. The 29-year-old activist and social media aficionado regularly appears on Fox News imploring black Americans to leave the Democratic Party. She counts hip-hop artist Kanye West among her fans.

Owens’s name was trending on Twitter Friday after a clip of her sharing her thoughts on Adolf Hitler went viral.

At a December event in London, Owens said:

“I actually don’t have any problems at all with the word ‘nationalism.' I think that the definition gets poisoned by elitists that actually want globalism. Globalism is what I don’t want, so when you think about whenever we say nationalism, the first thing people think about, at least in America, is Hitler."

She went on to explain:

“He was a national socialist. But if Hitler just wanted to make Germany great and have things run well, okay, fine. The problem is that he wanted, he had dreams outside of Germany. He wanted to globalize. He wanted everybody to be German, everybody to be speaking German. Everybody to look a different way. To me, that’s not nationalism. In thinking about how we could go bad down the line, I don’t really have an issue with nationalism. I really don’t. I think that it’s okay.”

The comments drew sharp rebuke for their inaccurate portrayal of Hitler’s politics, and for seeming to suggest that Hitler’s leadership of Germany, including his role in the murder of millions of Jews, LGBT people and other German minorities, wasn’t really a problem.

BuzzFeed first featured Owens’s comments in an article about Turning Point USA, the conservative advocacy organization which employs Owens. The organization is expanding into Britain.

Owens quickly accused the media organization for having a liberal bias and taking her comments out of context. “It’s actually so insane. It’s so ridiculous. That it could only come from BuzzFeed, which is obviously a scum-of-the-earth publication,” she said.

Owens also clarified her earlier comments, saying she was trying to point out that Americans have a very confused understanding of the word “nationalism” because of its association with Hitler.

“I’d make the argument that he wasn’t a nationalist,” she said of Hitler. “He was a homicidal, psychotic maniac who was bent on world domination outside of the confines of Germany. You wouldn’t say he was a nationalist, because he wasn’t about putting Germans first. There were German Jews that he was putting into camps and murdering. He was a mass murderer.”

Owens also said she was not comparing the president to Hitler.

“Trump has no interest in conquering the world,” she said. The president is “employing a type of nationalism that is desperately needed in times like this, when you have people that are trying to globalize our economy, and we’re seeing that America has been hurt by it.”

Owens and Turning Point have been criticized for issues related to diversity. Some former members have called leaders of the group racist. With speeches like that from Owens, it’s not hard to see why.

Candace Owens, Communications Director at Turning Point USA, says that the Republican party is rallying around President Trump during these midterm elections. (Video: Washington Post Live)