WASHINGTON (JTA) — Donald Trump said he would “look into” his recent practice of asking followers to raise their hands in a pledge after it was likened to the Nazi salute.
Trump said Tuesday on NBC that the comparisons to Nazi salutes were a “big, big stretch,” adding it was something he does for fun.
“I’ll certainly look into it,” Trump, a billionaire real estate magnate and the front-runner among Republican presidential candidates, told the “Today” show when he was told that the raised hand caused offense. “I’d like to find out that that’s true because I don’t want to offend anybody.”
Abraham Foxman, the former national director of the Anti-Defamation League and a Holocaust survivor, this week called the hand-raising a “fascist gesture” and said Trump knew what he was doing.
“He is smart enough — he always tells us how smart he is — to know the images that this evokes,” Foxman told the Times of Israel. “Instead of asking his audience to pledge allegiance to the United States of America, which in itself would be a little bizarre, he’s asking them to swear allegiance to him.”
A photo by a Washington Post reporter of a Trump rally on Saturday at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida, has gone viral.
“Raise your right hand,” Trump said at the rally, as hands went up in the arena and loud cheers erupted. “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.”