White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Monday that Donald Trump’s tactics on the campaign trail have “fallen short” of representing American values to the rest of the world, but said he wouldn’t go so far as to compare the bombastic real estate mogul to dictators Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler.
A reporter asked Earnest during his daily media briefing about an editorial appearing in the China Global Times that labelled Trump a racist and referred to the “heavy lesson for Western democracy” of Mussolini’s and Hitler’s rise to power through their respective elections.
“When you see something like that, what’s your reaction?” the reporter asked Earnest.
Earnest said he wouldn’t comment on the China Global Times report specifically because he hadn’t read it. But he did say that Trump, as well as other GOP presidential hopefuls, have “fallen short” on the campaign trail of living “up to the principles, and norms and values that our country has long cherished.”
The reporter asked Earnest to clarify if he thought the “concern” raised in the report was “justified.”
“I don’t think I’d be willing to go that far,” Earnest said. “We’ve observed that campaigning for President is not just something that the American people watch, it’s something that the world watches. And there are global consequences for the kinds of messages that political candidates for President basically assume when they’re making arguments on the trail. And it’s important for people to be mindful of that.”