President Donald Trump faced backlash online on Thursday after he praised Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor Co., as having “good bloodlines.”
“In our lifetimes, the company founded by a man named Henry Ford ― good bloodlines, good bloodlines ― if you believe in that stuff,” Trump said in a speech following his tour of a Ford plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan. “You got good blood,” he added, ostensibly addressing William Clay Ford, the company’s executive chairman and great-grandson of Henry Ford.
As many on social media pointed out, Henry Ford was among the most influential anti-Semitic figures in the U.S. in the early 20th century. He held deeply prejudiced personal views, and his anti-Semitic writings were admired and praised by Adolf Hitler. Through his Michigan hometown newspaper, The Dearborn Independent, Ford disseminated hundreds of articles that claimed the existence of an international Jewish conspiracy that served as a rationale for anti-Semitism.
His newspaper also wrote articles based on “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” ― a fraudulent anti-Semitic document first published in Russia in the early 1900s ― and presented it as a factual text detailing Jewish attempts to seize control of the world. Following a libel lawsuit, Ford officially apologized for spreading hate speech in 1927, the same year his newspaper was shut down.
In 1938, a year before Hitler’s invasion of Poland, the Nazi regime bestowed on Ford the Grand Cross of the German Eagle, the highest decoration Nazi Germany could award a foreigner.
It’s not the first time Trump has made comments touting superior genetics. In 2018, during a dinner with top world business leaders, he reportedly made comments praising the “good bloodlines” and “amazing DNA” in the room. He’s praised his own “good genes” on several occasions and has been known to agree with eugenics.