Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump told his supporters during a rally in Orlando, Florida on March 5 to raise their right hands and promise to vote for him (video below).
“Let’s do a pledge," Trump told the crowd, notes Slate.
Who likes me in this room? I’ve never done this before. Can I have a pledge? A swearing? Raise your right hand. I do solemnly swear that I, no matter how I feel, no matter what the conditions, if there are hurricanes or whatever, that's good enough, will vote on or before the 12th for Donald J. Trump for president. Thank you. Now I know. Don’t forget you all raised your hands. You swore. Bad things happen if you don’t live up to what you just did.
Trump didn't say exactly what the "bad things" would be, but Abe Foxman, the former director of the Anti-Defamation League, compared the scene to Adolf Hitler and Nazi rallies.
Foxman, who was born in Poland in 1940, recently told The Times of Israel:
As a Jew who survived the Holocaust, to see an audience of thousands of people raising their hands in what looks like the "Heil Hitler" salute is about as offensive, obnoxious and disgusting as anything I thought I would ever witness in the United States of America.
We’ve seen this sort of thing at rallies of neo-Nazis. We’ve seen it at rallies of white supremacists. But to see it at a rally for a legitimate candidate for the presidency of the United States is outrageous.
It is a fascist gesture. He is smart enough — he always tells us how smart he is — to know the images that this evokes. Instead of asking his audience to pledge allegiance to the United States of America, which in itself would be a little bizarre, he’s asking them to swear allegiance to him.
He even threatens that if they don’t, they will suffer and be punished. This is so over the top for a man who really doesn’t come out of the underground. He is a man of the world. Even though he proclaims he doesn’t know who David Duke was, or the other white supremacists, we know very well that he knows. So he’s playing to an image.