Pro-Trump personality Candace Owens described Adolf Hitler’s plan for Germany as initially “OK” while speaking in the same city that the Nazi dictator relentlessly bombed nearly 80 years ago.
The remarks came in newly resurfaced video, taken in December at a London event launching the British chapter of Turning Point USA, the conservative campus group she helps lead. Owens’s comments were first reported on Friday by BuzzFeed News.
Owens was asked by an audience member for her thoughts on the future of nationalist movements. In her response, Owens said “nationalism” has been given a bad rap before pivoting to the Nazi dictator.
“When we say nationalism, the first thing people think about, at least in America, is Hitler. He was a national socialist,” she said.
“If Hitler just wanted to make Germany great and have things run well, OK, fine,” Owens continued, while standing next to Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk.
“The problem is he wanted, he had dreams outside of Germany. He wanted to globalize, he wanted everybody to be German, everybody to be speaking German, everybody to look a different way. To me, that’s not nationalism. So in thinking about how it could go bad down the line, I don’t really have an issue with nationalism, I really don’t.”
Turning Point USA declined to comment on Owens’s remarks and referred The Daily Beast to Owens herself, who serves as the organization’s communications director.
Asked by The Daily Beast to explain her remarks, Owens called Hitler a “homicidal maniacal globalist” and claimed her response was simply “about why Americans WRONGLY equate the word ‘nationalism’ to Hitler.”
“My final comment is that Hitler was the scum of the earth,” Owens wrote in an email. “As is the publication you write for.”
Owens also stood by her remarks in a Periscope live stream on Friday.
TPUSA has been dogged by racism controversies, even as its success on college campuses and with conservative donors have made both Owens and Kirk stars on the right.
Last October, members of a Turning Point chapter in Florida were revealed to be sharing racist memes in a group chat. In 2017, the New Yorker reported that a high-ranking TPUSA member once wrote: “I hate blacks.”
Owens has frequently clashed with other conservative personalities, including Fox News’ Tomi Lahren. Rapper Kanye West, whose endorsement rocketed Owens to fame, eventually distanced himself from her in October.
Despite her politics, Owens has repeatedly insisted that she isn’t “far-right.” After Twitter described her as such in 2018, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey publicly apologized to Owens.