CNN host Fareed Zakaria compared Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler and a “bullshit artist” within the space of a minute on Monday, blasting him as “plainly ignorant” on public policy.
During an interview with Wolf Blizter, Zakaria was asked about comments by Trump that appeared to show he was not aware Russian forces were operating inside war-torn eastern Ukraine.
“[Vladimir Putin's] not going into Ukraine, OK, just so you understand. He’s not gonna go into Ukraine, all right? You can mark it down,” Trump told ABC’s This Week. “You can put it down. You can take it anywhere you want.”
When George Stephanopoulos pointed out that Russia is already in Ukraine, Trump said, “Well, he’s there in a certain way. But I’m not there. You have Obama there. And frankly, that whole part of the world is a mess under Obama with all the strength that you’re talking about and all of the power of NATO and all of this. In the meantime, he’s going away. He takes Crimea.”
Trump also said he would “take a look” at Russia's annexation of Crimea, after previously saying he would recognize the Kremlin's annexation of the peninsula, which Western nations still view as Ukrainian territory.
“But you know, the people of Crimea, from what I’ve heard, would rather be with Russia than where they were. And you have to look at that, also,” he said.
The Republican nominee took steps to walk back his comments via Twitter on Monday.
Zakaria said the tweets were an attempt to obfuscate his earlier statements.
“Every time it is demonstrated that Donald Trump is plainly ignorant about some basic public policy issue, some well known fact, he comes back with a certain bravado and tries to explain it away with a tweet or a statement,” he said.
“It's sort of amusing to watch how he is going to be pulling it off this time, what is he going to argue. Usually he adds that the press hates him.
“There is a term for this kind of thing. This is the mode of a bullshit artist, and it is sometimes amusing, it's entertaining if the guy is trying to sell you a condo or a car, but for president of the United States, it's deeply worrying.”
When asked about Trump's comments about the majority of Crimea's population being pro-Russian, Zakaria said “there is evidence for that.”
“But that has never been the way in which we changed the borders since the end of World War II,” Zakaria added. “It is important to understand that the argument that Donald Trump is putting forward about Crimea is the same argument that Adolf Hitler made about the Sudeten Czechoslovaks.”
“You don't change borders without some process that is, you know, legal and that is democratic and that does not involve force,” he said.