James Shaw's comparison of Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler a step too far?

Green Party co-leader James Shaw admits he took it a bit far when he said Donald Trump was the most "dangerous" person ...
GRANT MATTHEW/STUFF

Green Party co-leader James Shaw admits he took it a bit far when he said Donald Trump was the most "dangerous" person since Adolf Hitler.

Green Party co-leader James Shaw has come under fire for saying US President Donald Trump was the "most dangerous person since Adolf Hitler".

Shaw made the comment while taking part in a political panel on the TV show Backbenches on Wednesday night. At the time his comment led to a gasp from many in the audience.

A quick unscientific survey reveals there are quite a number of people with worse track records than Trump who Shaw may have missed in his own calculations of "dangerous" people.

President Donald Trump has only been in office since January 20 but has already got the world's attention over some ...
KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS

President Donald Trump has only been in office since January 20 but has already got the world's attention over some questionable decisions he's made in recent months.

Early contenders include former Prime Minister of Cambodia Pol Pot, Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, North Korea leader Kim Jong-un, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte and former Iraq President Saddam Hussein - bearing in mind all of the above have been connected to the deaths of hundreds, but more likely thousands, of innocent civilians.

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Shaw has since backed down from his comment saying it wasn't an appropriate comparison.

"I said that in the context of a pub politics show and I was being hyperbolic, and it wasn't an appropriate comparison.

"However, I do think Trump has the capacity to plunge the world into chaos. The US does have safeguards, which he is testing at the moment," Shaw said.

But Labour leader Andrew Little has already distanced himself from Shaw and he's facing attack from Prime Minister Bill English and ACT leader David Seymour as well.

On Thursday morning Little said he followed the "principle that the first person to raise Hitler in a political argument loses it".

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"Just keep things in perspective. The US is a long-standing democracy. It has a constitution that has very strong checks and balances -some Americans say too many, because things can't get done.

"But it is a strong, solid democracy and when things do kind of bust out, it has a way of bringing them back in."

Little said some reports around Trump were cause for concern but ultimately he trusted the "American political establishment" to have the checks and balances in place to make sure Trump didn't put his country or the rest of the world at "undue risk".

English said Shaw was getting "caught up in a bit of hysteria".

"US domestic politics is often pretty rough, there's probably too much focus on it in my view. New Zealand's got plenty of issues we're getting on with...and the Opposition parties may be distracted by what's going on in Washington but it doesn't affect us directly and we've got plenty to do," he said. 

Seymour said Little should be "sweating" at the idea of forming a government with the Greens on the back of Shaw's comments.

"This is the type of hyperbole you'd expect from Trump himself. With lines like this, the Greens might just be New Zealand's most Trump-esque party."

"It's an insult to the millions of victims of the Holocaust and World War II" and Shaw needs to remember the United States and Trump are New Zealand's "ally," he said.

 - Stuff

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