Benjy Sarlin reports for NBC NEWS that Donald Trump Jr. defended remarks about the media “warming up the gas chamber” today, clarifying to NBC News that he was referring to capital punishment and not the gas chambers used by Nazis to murder Jews.
“Without the media, this wouldn’t even be a contest, but the media has built her up, they’ve let her slide on every indiscrepancy, on every lie, on every DNC game, trying to get Bernie Sanders out of the thing,” the Republican nominee’s son said in a radio interview on 1210 WPHT in Philadelphia Thursday. “If Republicans were doing that, they’d be warming up the gas chamber right now.”
Benjy Sarlin, in his NBC NEWS report, stated that the remark drew sharp criticism from the Anti-Defamation League, which advocates against hate speech.
“We hope you understand the sensitivity and hurt of making Holocaust jokes,” the ADL tweeted at Trump from its official account. “We hope you retract.”
Trump Jr. told NBC News’ Katy Tur that he stood by his point, but that he meant to refer to executions rather than the Holocaust. He said he normally uses the phrase “electric chair” to make the same point.
The campaign followed up as well with a statement blaming the press for misinterpreting his remarks.
“The liberal, dishonest media is so quick to attack one of the Trumps that they never let the truth get in the way of a good smear,” Trump spokesman Jason Miller said in a statement. “Don Jr. was clearly referring to capital punishment to make the case that the media continues to take words out of context in order to serve as the propaganda arm of the Hillary Clinton campaign — something that’s only gotten worse as Trump’s poll numbers have improved.”