A New York-based Jewish advocacy group is among those calling out President Donald Trump for praising the "good bloodlines" of American industrialist and infamous anti-Semite Henry Ford during a Thursday night speech at a Ford Motor Company plant in Michigan.
In a statement Friday, Bend the Arc: Jewish Action said Trump's remarks about Ford—a Nazi sympathizer whom Adolf Hitler described as the "single great man" of the "American Union" in Mein Kampf—were "yet another dogwhistle to white nationalists."
Henry Ford was a Nazi sympathizer who wrote “The International Jew, the World’s Foremost Problem.”— Bend the Arc: Jewish Action (@jewishaction) May 21, 2020
Hitler called Ford an “inspiration” & gave him the highest Nazi medal for foreigners.
Trump praising Ford’s “good bloodlines” = a dog-whistle to antisemites & white nationalists. https://t.co/478q3Oq67r
"Make no mistake, President Trump knew exactly what he was doing when he said one of America's most notorious anti-Semites has 'good bloodlines,'" said Stosh Cotler, CEO of Bend the Arc: Jewish Action, noting Hitler's praise for Ford.
"Trump's 'bloodlines' comment is a loud dogwhistle to Ford's 'blood and soil' nationalism," Cotler continued, "and his obsession with 'globalists' is a direct descendant of conspiracy theories which Ford promoted through anti-Semitic literature such as The International Jew."
"We are in desperate need of courageous moral leadership to keep our families safe and healthy during the Covid-19 pandemic," she added. "Instead, the Trump administration and their allies are pointing fingers, scapegoating, and distracting us from their epic failure to respond to this crisis."
Reporting on the incident for The Intercept Friday, Robert Mackey put the president's "bloodlines" comment into a broader context:
Trump has made no secret of his own belief that he inherited everything from intelligence to an ability to withstand pressure through the "great genes" passed on to him by his parents and grandparents. He has also frequently compared the importance of "good bloodlines" in humans to the breeding of champion racehorses, a view that overlaps in uncomfortable ways with those of eugenicists and racists like Ford.
"I'm proud to have that German blood," Trump once told an interviewer. "You've all got such good bloodlines," Trump reportedly told British business leaders at a dinner in 2018. "You've all got such amazing DNA."
Trump has also frequently suggested that because his uncle, John Trump, taught for decades at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he is similarly smart. "My uncle was a great professor and scientist and engineer, Dr. John Trump at MIT," Trump said at a South Carolina rally in 2015. Pointing at his right temple, he then added: "Good genes, very good genes—okay?—very smart."
Mackey, who also detailed Ford's long track record as "an anti-Semite and a favorite of the Nazis," noted that Trump's comment outraged Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, who took to Twitter Thursday night to condemn the remarks.
"The president should apologize," Greenblatt said.