Candace Owens insists she is not an Adolf Hitler apologist.
The alt-right political activist received backlash Friday after BuzzFeed published her controversial comments about the genocidal dictator. Owens, the communications director for conservative organization Turning Point USA, was asked about the rise of nationalism during an event in London this week. She attempted to defend the ideological movement by pointing to Hitler's reign, saying she'd have been "fine" with Hitler being a true nationalist if he "just wanted to make Germany great."
"I actually don’t have any problems at all with the word nationalism. I think that it gets—the definition gets poisoned by elitists that actually want globalism," she said during a Q&A segment. "Globalism is what I don't want. So, when you think about whenever we say nationalism, the first thing people think about, at least in America, is Hitler—he was a national socialist; but if Hitler just wanted to make Germany great and have things run well, OK, fine. The problem is that he wanted—he had dreams outside of Germany."
Owens went on to argue that globalization is often conflated with nationalism, a movement she fully supports. "I don't really have an issue with nationalism. I really don’t. I think that it's OK," she said. "It's important to retain your country's identity and to make sure that what's happening here, which I think is incredibly worrisome in terms of just the decrease in the birth rate that we're seeing in the U.K., is what you kind of want to avoid. So I'm not—I have no problems with nationalism. It's globalism that I try to avoid."
Unsurprisingly, Owens' comments raised eyebrows, as many believed she was defending the man whose fascist policies resulted in tens of millions of deaths during WWII.
Owens responded to the criticism on social media Friday afternoon, claiming she was not defending Hitler, but rather pointing out how he is wrongly associated with nationalism. "In my interpretation, or from my understanding, I would make the argument that [Hitler] wasn't a nationalist," she said in a video. "He was a homicidal, psychotic maniac who was bent on world domination, outside of the confines of Germany. And you wouldn't say he's a nationalist because he wasn't about putting Germans first. There were German Jews that he was putting in camps and murdering. ... So that's the argument I was making on stage: This man, by no means, should be considered a nationalist."
This, of course, isn't the first time Owens has been criticized for her political commentary. During an interview with Business Insider back in December, she addressed Donald Trump's popularity among extremist groups like the Ku Klux Klan. Owens dismissed this very obvious fact, suggesting progressive activists are a bigger concern than the KKK.
"The KKK is one of those mirages you guys pretend is back and well," she said. "If you want to talk about gangs that actually do have an impact let's talk about Antifa. I've never in any place that I have spoken ... seen KKK members show up in white hoods. This is what I'm talking when I say 'the politics of fear.' It's what you're doing right now. 'Shouldn't we talk about the far right, KKK?' No, they're nowhere."