One of my favorite Orson Welles movies is The Stranger.
Welles plays a German Nazi who escaped the Homeland after the Allied victory. He speaks without a hint of a German accent and hides out as a professor in a small New England Town, takes up with a Supreme Court justices daughter and works on the town’s clock.
Edward G. Robinson plays a government Nazi hunter on the chase for the Welles character. His investigation has led him to the town, but not to who the Nazi is.
In a dinner conversation with the family of the Supreme Court justices daughter, the conversation involves a discussion of post-war Germany. In order to disguise his identity, Welles comes off more anti-German than anybody.
He asks, “What have the Germans ever contributed to culture and philosophy?”
The son of the Supreme Court justice offers up Marx. “Workers of the world unite,” he says.
“But Marx wasn’t a German. He was a Jew,” responds the Welles character.
A lightbulb goes off, and then Edward G. Robinson knows.
Only a Nazi would think that because someone was a Jew they could not be a German too.
When Sean Spicer compared Hitler to Assad by saying that Hitler did not gas his own people, it was not a gaffe.
Well, it was a gaffe in the sense that as a political communicator he should know not to bring up Hitler or compare Hitler to anyone else.
So he is incompetent.
But it was also a window into his politics and soul.
In his mind, Jews were not Germans. Germans did not gas their own people. They killed Jews. Communists. Catholics. Homosexuals. Gypsies. Not Germans.
They did not put Germans into concentration camps, or Holocaust Centers as Spicer put it. Not their own people.
It raises the obvious question: Who does Spicer and Trump consider their people?