Flying in the face of comparisons to Adolf Hitler, Republican front-runner Donald Trump on Monday once against asked his supporters, at a North Carolina rally, to raise their right hands and pledge to vote for him.
Just after kicking off a campaign rally in Concord, North Carolina, the presidential hopeful defied critics and asked “Should we do the pledge? Should we do the pledge?” The Hill reported.
He then repeated his performance in Orlando on Saturday, telling his supporters: “Raise your hand: ‘I swear I’m going to vote for Donald Trump next week, I swear.'”
“Oh, wow. Just with the people here, I think, we win,” Trump said.
— CBSN (@CBSNLive) March 7, 2016
Trump came under fire for urging his supporters to raise their right hands in what critics said was reminiscent of the Hitler salute from Nazi Germany.
“As a Jew who survived the Holocaust, to see an audience of thousands of people raising their hands in what looks like the ‘Heil Hitler’ salute is about as offensive, obnoxious and disgusting as anything I thought I would ever witness in the United States of America,” former ADL chief Abe Foxman told The Times of Israel in an interview published Monday.
“We’ve seen this sort of thing at rallies of neo-Nazis. We’ve seen it at rallies of white supremacists. But to see it at a rally for a legitimate candidate for the presidency of the United States is outrageous.”
Teams of law enforcement and security officers removed more than a half-dozen groups of people who interrupted the businessman’s rally in Concord. Before Trump even took the stage, a group of more than a dozen young people, clad mostly in black, were escorted out of the building after linking hands and standing to the side of the stage.
The final two people escorted from the arena held three fingers in the air in a kind of salute. One of the men had on a yellow emblem reading, “Stop Islamophobia.”
Trump paused at each interruption as his supporters simultaneously booed the protesters and cheered on law enforcement. “Go home to mommy,” he said, as one man was removed. “Let her tuck you in bed.”
Trump spent much of his time on stage discussing trade and his ability to create jobs, including here in North Carolina, where his Trump National Golf Club sits about an hour from the arena where he spoke Monday.
Photos from Saturday’s event in Orlando, Florida earned Trump comparisons to Hitler, with social media users saying the raise-your-hand to pledge gesture was reminiscent of the “Heil Hitler” salute.
“Let’s do a pledge. Who likes me in this room?” Trump said at Saturday’s rally. “Raise your right hand. I do solemnly swear that I — no matter how I feel, no matter what the conditions, if there’s hurricanes or whatever — will vote, on or before the 12th, for Donald J. Trump for president.”
The audience, including a man dressed as a wall, eagerly complied. And one man raised his dog’s paw.
“Don’t forget you all raised your hands,” Trump said. “You swore. Bad things happen if you don’t live up to what you just did.”