Politics

A Mass. candidate tangles with radio hosts over whether President Trump is like Hitler

Michael Dwyer/AP
Candidate for governor Jay Gonzalez speaks during the 2018 Massachusetts Democratic Party Convention in June.

Democratic candidate for governor Jay Gonzalez’s campaign slogan is “Let’s Aim High!”

On Thursday, he may have aimed a little too, um, high, calling into WEEI’s Kirk & Callahan Show — hosted by Kirk Minihane and Gerry Callahan — and quickly sounding as if he regretted trying to tangle with the pugnacious hosts whose politics seem a long way from the Needham liberal.

After a discussion of Governor Charlie Baker’s reversal Monday, deciding not to send the Massachusetts National Guard to the Mexican border, the chat turned to other topics, including more historical matters.

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“Do you think Trump is like Hitler?” Callahan asked Gonzalez in the 9 a.m. hour of the popular talk radio show.

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Uh oh!

“Umm,” Gonzalez paused. “I think Trump’s a terrible president, and I think he’s divisive, and I think he’s hateful. I don’t like that we have a president that mocks people with disabilities, assaults women, and takes this anti-immigrant stance to the extent that he has—”

“I would call it anti-illegal immigrant,” Callahan chimed in.

Then Callahan got back to the question at hand.

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“So you do think he’s like Hitler, or don’t?”

“I’m sorry. I do think what?” asked Gonzalez, who sounded like he was calling in from a cell phone.

“So you do think he is like Hitler, or don’t you?”

“No, I didn’t say that. But I think he is hateful and divisive,” Gonzalez said. “And I think we need a president, we need public leaders in this country who are going to bring people together. And that’s a big gripe I’ve had with our governor, because too often there are situations like this where he has supported this policy to begin with and then, after pressure, he reverses it.”

Ah, yes. The ol’ Hitler-to-Trump-to-Charlie Baker pivot.

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A recent poll found the Republican led Gonzalez by 40 percentage points in a head-to-head matchup.

Both candidates face primary opponents on Sept. 4.

Reach Miller at joshua.miller@globe.com