EXCLUSIVE: Former congresswoman turned UMich prof compares MAGA hats to Nazi uniforms during lecture

Audio recordings of the class show Professor Lynn Rivers comparing Trump to Adolf Hitler, and Trump supporters to Nazis.

'They see his anger, his rage, his willingness to attack people, to vilify, to humiliate people, they're on board with that because he’s essentially attacking people they don’t like,' she said.

A former congresswoman compared former President Donald Trump and his supporters to Adolf Hitler and Nazis in her “Congress and the President” course lecture at the University of Michigan in August.

Lynn Rivers, a political science professor and former Democratic congresswoman from Michigan, outlines the “5 Dynamics of Presidential Ascendancy” in a PowerPoint presentation that Campus Reform obtainedThe presentation is part of the first unit called the “5 Dynamics of Tyrants.”

According to Rivers, the five dynamics of tyrants are “Constant War,” “Cowardice of Congress,” “Growth of Media and Technology,” “Presidential Control of Information,” and “Little Guidance from the Courts.” 

Rivers then lists examples of tyrants’ tactics, including: “Seize Power,” (ex. Hitler), “Control the Truth,” (ex. Joseph Stalin), “Crush Your Rivals,” (ex. Saddam Hussein), and “Rule Forever,” (ex. the Kim Dynasty in North Korea).

The list of tactics comes from the Netflix documentary series, How to Become a Tyrant, that analyzes historical dictators including Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Stalin, and Muammar Gaddafi. Rivers streamed the episode “Seize Power” during the class presentation.

[RELATED: Ohio University professor uses Marxist theory to compare Trump and the GOP to Nazis]

After watching the video, a student in the class said there are similarities between Trump and Hitler. “A lot of the early stuff ... I recognize with Trump,” the student said.

Rivers agreed and compared Trump’s iconic, red “Make America Great Again” hats to the Nazi uniform. “Even things like wearing red hats,” said Rivers. “You know, we wouldn’t think, ‘oh, we wouldn’t think there’s no uniform for a political point of view.’ Red hats are certainly one of those.”

Rivers also compared Trump and his supporters to the Nazis on the basis that they both “attack” people. 

“They see his anger, his rage, his willingness to attack people, to vilify, to humiliate people, they’re on board with that because he’s essentially attacking people they don’t like,” Rivers said.


Katie Vu, a Michigan student and vice president of its Turning Point USA chapter, told Campus Reform that comparing Hitler to Trump is “insulting.”

[Related: Yale prof goes into damage control mode after comparing Trump to Hitler]

“The school should be a place to further the pursuit of knowledge--not a platform for educators to further push their personal opinions,” Vu said.

Rivers was first elected to Congress in 1995, and she served as representative from Michigan’s 13th District from 1995 to 2003. Before that, she served in the Michigan House of Representatives and the Ann Arbor Board of Education.

”Lynn Rivers is a former member of the US House of Representatives and teaches from a base of 20 years in elected office,” her bio on the Michigan College of Literature, Science, and the Arts website states.

Campus Reform contacted the University of Michigan, the political science department, Rivers, and the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts for comment. This article will be updated accordingly. 

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