Donald Trump removes video on Truth Social with ‘unified reich’ reference

<span>Donald Trump speaks at an National Rifle Association event in Dallas, Texas, on 18 May 2024.</span><span>Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images</span>
Donald Trump speaks at an National Rifle Association event in Dallas, Texas, on 18 May 2024.Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Donald Trump shared a video on his Truth Social account referencing a “unified reich” if Trump wins the presidential election in November – then, after being criticized for it in some quarters for more than half a day, removed it.

The video posted on Monday remained up for 15 hours into Tuesday morning despite the reference being pointed out by media outlets. The former president’s account removed it by about 10am ET on Tuesday.

Trump’s campaign claimed a staffer did not see the word “reich” before the video was posted and said it was not used intentionally but did not comment on why the video remained on Trump’s account for so long.

In the video, a narrator states: “What happens after Donald Trump wins? What’s next for America?” Meanwhile, hypothetical headlines are shown, including: “Industrial strength significantly increased … driven by the creation of a unified reich.”

“Reich” is the German word for “empire”, and is heavily associated with Adolf Hitler, who referred to his Nazi regime as the “Third Reich”.

Related: The Apprentice: Trump campaign threatens legal action over biopic that depicts him as a rapist

“This was not a campaign video, it was created by a random account online and reposted by a staffer who clearly did not see the word, while the president was in court,” Karoline Leavitt, the Trump campaign’s press secretary, said in a statement.

The Associated Press reported the headline text appears to be copied verbatim from Wikipedia. “German industrial strength and production had significantly increased after 1871, driven by the creation of a unified Reich,” states the Wikipedia entry on the second world war.

Trump had dinner with the prominent antisemites Nick Fuentes and Kanye West in 2022, and in his campaign speeches he regularly states that immigrants are “poisoning the blood of our country”, which critics have said echoes Nazi rhetoric.

The Biden campaign led a chorus of critics who excoriated Trump for sharing the video.

“Donald Trump is not playing games; he is telling America exactly what he intends to do if he regains power: rule as a dictator over a ‘unified reich’,” a Biden spokesperson, James Singer, said in a statement.

“Parroting Mein Kampf while you warn of a bloodbath if you lose is the type of unhinged behavior you get from a guy who knows that democracy continues to reject his extreme vision of chaos, division and violence.”

The Biden campaign also cited other previous comments and actions from Trump that express or mirror antisemitic views, including claiming Hitler “did some good things” and praising neo-Nazi marchers during the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville.