CNN’s Christiane Amanpour apologized on Monday for invoking the anniversary of the Kristallnacht pogroms in comparing President Donald Trump’s dishonesty to the Nazi “attack on fact” in a segment last week.
Amanpour made the comparison on Thursday in the introduction to her show, “Amanpour,” which CNN calls its “flagship global affairs interview program.”
"This week 82 years ago, Kristallnacht happened,” Amanpour said in the monologue. “It was the Nazis’ warning shot across the bow of our human civilization that led to genocide against a whole identity, and in that tower of burning books, it led to an attack on fact, knowledge, history and truth. After four years of a modern-day assault on those same values by Donald Trump, the Biden-Harris team pledges a return to norms, including the truth.”
Amanpour came under fire for the analogy, which apparently led to her apology. Amanpour said on Monday, “I should not have juxtaposed the two thoughts. Hitler and his evils stand alone, of course, in history. I regret any pain my statement may have caused.”
“My point was to say how democracy can potentially slip away, and how we must always zealously guard our democratic values,” Amanpour clarified.
Much of the criticism of Amanpour's original statement came from conservative leaning politicians and pundits. Israel's Diaspora Affairs Minister Omer Yankelevich asked CNN for an “immediate and public apology” in a letter sent a letter to CNN president Jeffrey Zucker.
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“This is @camanpour on @CNN comparing Trump’s tenure to Nazi Germany. How the hell is this sort of prejudice tolerated on mainstream media? Third rate rubbish,” wrote Ben Habib, a British former European Parliament member for the Brexit Party.
“Despicable. @camanpour compares verbal fact checking of a POTUS to a Nazi pogrom in which dozens of Jews were murdered,” the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council, a small group representing haredi Jewish interests, wrote on Twitter.
Comparisons between contemporary politics and Nazi Germany have been considered beyond the pale by Jewish groups. An advertisement released in September by the Jewish Democratic Council of America that drew parallels between the rise of fascism and the Trump presidency was swiftly condemned by the Anti-Defamation League. But both former ADL direct Abraham Foxman and Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt said such comparisons are in fact apt.
Haaretz updated this story with Amanpour's apology