Howard Dean likens Trump to Hitler in talk to Rapp Democrats

‘Adolf Hitler came to power with fewer percentages of votes than Donald Trump’

Rappahannock-based congressional candidate Leslie Cockburn (left) is handed a telephone by fundraiser reception host John Kiser, who said he had arranged for former presidential hopeful and Vermont Gov. Howard Dean to call in and address the candidate’s supporters. Standing behind Kiser is his wife, Pam. Courtesy photo

Little did Rappahannock County Democrats realize they’d be hearing from onetime presidential hopeful Howard Dean while attending a Sunday afternoon fundraiser in Slate Mills for local congressional candidate Leslie Cockburn.

Yet when addressing the outdoor crowd of supporters on speakerphone, the former five-term Vermont governor and Democratic National Committee chairman from 2005 to 2009 didn’t concentrate so much on Virginia’s 5th district congressional race as he did the psychological state of President Donald Trump.

Just weeks after Dean, a physician, told MSNBC that he’s “long believed the president is mentally ill,” he warned his Rappahannock audience that Trump’s rise to power has similarities to Adolf Hitler’s and it should not be underestimated.

“We all complain about Trump because he is clearly unfit to be president,” Dean stated. “The dangerous thing about Trump is that he has set a tone for this kind of [Jewish synagogue shooting] that happened yesterday in Pittsburgh, and the kinds of things that happened in the supermarket lot in Kentucky because [the shooter] couldn’t get into a black church, so he shot randomly at black people in the parking lot.”

The former DNC chairman then compared Trump to Hitler, the Nazi Party leader who rose to power as German chancellor in 1933 and fuhrer one year later.

“What’s at stake here is not about Leslie, it’s about the future of the United States of America,” Dean stressed. “And I’m not kidding, Adolf Hitler came to power with fewer percentages of votes than Donald Trump got.

“And the big problem with Hitler is people didn’t dare stand up to him. And he bamboozled them and he pushed them around. And the people who were sensible, and thoughtful and decent . . . lost their lives, there weren’t enough of them who stood up,” Dean said. “We are all in this together and the stakes are absolutely enormous.”

In the absence of Republicans standing up to Trump on Capitol Hill, the former governor, who had sought the Democratic nomination in the 2004 presidential election, said it is now up to the voters to take on the president by sending him a clear message in these midterm elections.

“This country is a great country when Republicans can be on the right side — not necessarily with the issues, because we know we’re not going to agree with them — but to be on the right side of decency and morality,” Dean said. “Ronald Reagan wouldn’t have put up with this. Ronald Reagan stood up and denounced this kind of stuff.”

He concluded: “We are in an absolute dog fight for the future of the country here, and that is not an exaggeration. We’ve got two elections to get this right and if we don’t get this election right it’s going to be pretty hard to build for the next one. This is a struggle for the soul of our democracy . . .

“America for all of our faults has always been a beacon for what is right, or at least what we try to make right. And that’s what this election is about,” Dean said. “This is an election that you can do something about.”

John Kiser, who with his wife Pam hosted the fundraising reception for Cockburn, told the Rappahannock News that he’d arranged beforehand for the former Vermont governor to phone in to the event. Cockburn is running neck and neck against GOP candidate Denver Riggleman in the race for the 5th district congressional seat, being vacated by Rep. Tom Garrett, a Republican.

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John McCaslin is the editor of the Rappahannock News. Email him at