The communications director of a U.S. right-wing student group said that "if Hitler just wanted to make Germany great and have things run well, OK, fine," according to Buzzfeed News and video circulating on social media.
According to the report and video, Candace Owens of Turning Point USA told an event audience in December: "Whenever we say nationalism, the first thing people think about, at least in America, is Hitler. He was a national socialist. But if Hitler just wanted to make Germany great and have things run well, OK, 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 a video streamed live after the Buzzfeed report was published, Owens explained that the point she was making was that people mistakenly conflated nationalism with Hitler, who she said was "a homicidal, psychotic maniac who was bent on world domination outside the confines of Germany and 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 murdered them, he was a mass murderer."
Claiming that "stupid leftist journalists" were misinterpreting her comment, Owens added: "I'm saying Hitler wasn't a nationalist and if the only thing Hitler wanted to do was stay in his country and say, you know, 'we're making Germany great again' and he wasn't a homicidal maniac, we would be in a different position today."
In just one year, Candace Owens has exploded from a novice Youtube vlogger to a rising conservative voice on college campuses and Fox News, earning praise from Kanye West and a meeting with President Donald Trump.
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Owens, who is African American, has built her national media presence praising Trump as the best president for Black America and dismissing the Black Lives Matter movement, as a group pretending to be oppressed.
She opposes abortion and advocates for the end of welfare, although she says she has family on it. She decries police brutality as a myth invented by Democrats “to manipulate black minds” on Twitter, where she takes her message directly to the people.