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CNN Host Apologizes for Comparing Trump Admin to Nazis Following Backlash from Israel, Jewish Groups

11-16-2020
President Donald Trump (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Donald Trump (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

JERUSALEM, Israel – CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour apologized for comments she made last week comparing President Donald Trump’s actions to Kristallnacht, a Nazi program against Jews in 1938 widely seen as a key starting point for the Holocaust.

“I observed the 82nd anniversary of Kristallnacht, as I often do. It is the event that began the horrors of the Holocaust. I also noted President Trump’s attacks on history, facts, knowledge, and truth,” Amanpour said during her show Monday. She was referring to the controversial comments she made during her previous show on Thursday.

“My point was to say how democracy can potentially slip away, and how we must always zealously guard our democratic values,” Amanpour added.

“I should not have juxtaposed the two thoughts. Hitler and his evils stand alone, of course, in history,” she said. “I regret any pain my statement may have caused.”

Amanpour came under fire this week from Israeli leaders and Jewish groups who blasted her for comparing Trump's presidency to the Nazi regime. 

“This week, 82 years ago, Kristallnacht happened,” Amanpour said Thursday at the beginning of her CNN’s foreign affairs program. “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 of fact, knowledge, history, and truth.”

She continued, saying: “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. And every day, Joe Biden makes presidential announcements about good governance and the health and security of the American people, while the great brooding figure of his defeated opponent rages, conducting purges of perceived enemies and preventing a transition.”

In response, Israel’s consul-general to Atlanta, Anat Sultan-Dadon, wrote a letter to Richard Davis, CNN’s executive vice president of News Standards and Practices on Sunday demanding an apology from Amanpour and the network. CNN is based in Atlanta.

“The use of the 82nd anniversary of Kristallnacht by Amanpour for the purpose of this comparison is an affront to the memory of the Holocaust, those who perished and those who suffered through these unimaginable atrocities,” she wrote, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Diaspora Affairs Minister Omer Yankelevich sent a letter to CNN president Jeffrey Zucker on Sunday also demanding an “immediate and public apology.”

“Distortion and minimization of the Holocaust are deplorable lies that only encourage the evil voices of anti-Semitism. Employing the memory of the Holocaust for cheap shock value and to further a political agenda is a deeply troubling and offensive spin of historic and moral truths with dangerous implications,” the letter said.

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