At a campaign rally in Minnesota on Saturday, President Donald Trump waxed poetic about the Minnesotan gene pool in language that, according to Holocaust experts, came eerily close to endorsing eugenics.
“You have good genes, you know that, right? You have good genes. A lot of it is about genes, isn’t it, don’t you believe?” the president said. “It’s the racehorse theory. You think we’re so different? You have good genes in Minnesota.”
The racehorse theory refers to the thoroughbred breeding concept popularized by early 20th century horse breeder John E. Madden who stated “Breed the best to the best and hope for the best.”
Madden is only known for his work with horses, but when his concepts are applied to human beings, the idea is known as Eugenics. It’s the pseudo-scientific ideology through which the Nazi party rationalized the Holocaust.
The president’s remarks quickly drew ire from Holocaust historians.
“As a historian who has written about the Holocaust, I’ll say bluntly: This is indistinguishable from the Nazi rhetoric that led to Jews, disabled people, LGBTQ, Romani and others being exterminated,” tweeted Steve Silberman, author of “NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity.”
This was not the first time President Donald Trump has brought up genetics or the so-called racehorse theory.
In an interview on PBS Frontline’s “The Choice,” Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio revealed that the president has been a long believer in the theory.
“The family subscribes to a racehorse theory of human development,” D’Antonio says in the documentary. “They believe that there are superior people and that if you put together the genes of a superior woman and a superior man, you get a superior offspring.”
Trump praised his own family’s genes in a 2017 interview with CNN.
“Well, I think I was born with the drive for success because I have a certain gene,” he said. “I’m a gene believer … Hey, when you connect two race horses, you usually end up with a fast horse.
Earlier this year, he praised notorious anti-Semite and American industrialist Henry Ford, saying he had “good bloodlines.”
In the past, the president has spoken about his pride in his “German blood.” The population of Minnesota whose genes he praised is largely of Germanic and Nordic descent.