MSNBC Guest Michael McFaul Apologizes for ‘Mistaken’ Comparison of Putin to Hitler on ‘The Rachel Maddow Show’

Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia erroneously said, “One difference between Putin and Hitler is that Hitler didn’t kill ethnic Germans”

Ukraine Michael McFaul

MSNBC guest and former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul apologized Saturday for comparing Russian President Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler.

I made a mistake. I apologize. I will never make comparisons to Hitler again. Without historical analogizing, I will keep my analysis and comments focused on the present evil – Putin,” McFaul said in a long Twitter thread.

The Stanford University professor’s controversial comments came Friday night during a segment on “The Rachel Maddow Show” when he told fill-in host Ali Velshi, “One difference between Putin and Hitler is that Hitler didn’t kill ethnic Germans, German-speaking people. Putin slaughters the very people he said he has come to liberate.”

His comment – minus the quotation marks — was reiterated in a tweet on Maddow Blog, setting off a firestorm of criticism, including from the Auschwitz Memorial.

“On a factual note: Hitler did kill ethnic Germans & German-speaking people: those who opposed the Nazi regime, those who resisted, those who did not fit into the ‘Weltanschauung’. He ordered the murder of people with different disabilities & finally the murder of German Jewry,” it wrote in a Saturday morning tweet.  

McFaul’s apology continued: “To be clear, I was, of course, mistaken when I implied that Hitler did not kill ethnic Germans. German Jews were a vibrant part of the German population and so many of them were brutally murdered by the Nazi regime. Our discussion was about Putin killing Russians in Ukraine. In a time of rising antisemitism, I understand that making any comment indirectly implying that Jews are in any way ‘others’ was the last thing I wanted. That of course was not my intention. I deeply regret my comments and I sincerely apologize. And now am moving forward.”

The Maddow Blog also set the record straight by deleting their tweet and issuing a new one with an apology.

“The historical record is clear. Hitler killed millions of Germans. We tweeted out part of an inaccurate statement made last night by former Ambassador Michael McFaul without attribution, and we regret doing so. We have since removed the tweet.