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On a visit to Europe to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the first world war, Donald Trump insisted to his then chief of staff, John Kelly: “Well, Hitler did a lot of good things.” The remark from the former US president on the 2018 trip, which reportedly “stunned” Kelly, a retired US Marine Corps general, is reported in a new book by Michael Bender of the Wall Street Journal. Bender reports that Trump made the remark during an impromptu history lesson in which Kelly “reminded the president which countries were on which side during the conflict” and “connected the dots from the first world war to the second world war and all of Hitler’s atrocities”. He reports that Trump denied making the remark about Hitler. But Bender says unnamed sources reported that Kelly “told the president that he was wrong, but Trump was undeterred”, emphasizing German economic recovery under Hitler during the 1930s.“Kelly pushed back again,” Bender writes, “and argued that the German people would have been better off poor than subjected to the Nazi genocide.” Trump was later reported to have called US soldiers who died in the war “losers” and “suckers”.

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