President Donald Trump on Thursday referred to the U.S. Secret Service as the “S.S.,” the infamous abbreviation for Adolf Hitler’s paramilitary forces, the Schutzstaffel.
The context of Trump’s tweet made it even more troubling: He was thanking the Secret Service — which actually goes by the abbreviation USSS — for clearing anti-fascist protesters from around the White House to make way for his photo op at a nearby church last week.
“Our great National Guard Troops who took care of the area around the White House could hardly believe how easy it was. ‘A walk in the park’, one said. The protesters, agitators, anarchists (ANTIFA), and others, were handled VERY easily by the Guard, D.C. Police, & S.S. GREAT JOB!” Trump wrote.
More from Business Insider: The SS was originally created as Hitler’s personal bodyguard unit, but it later represented the Nazi regime and was specifically charged with executing what the Nazis called “The Final Solution” — the murder of more than six million Jews across Europe. The SS, according to the US Holocaust Museum, also “assumed leading responsibility for security, identification of ethnicity, settlement and population policy, and intelligence collection and analysis.” The security force “controlled the German police forces and the concentration camp system” and “conceived and implemented plans designed to restructure the ethnic composition of eastern Europe and the occupied Soviet Union.” Trump’s tweet on Thursday came on the heels of a New York Times report that described the aggressive tactics the National Guard used against mostly peaceful protesters in the Washington, DC last week, and how the Guard’s response to the civil unrest surrounding Floyd’s death has cratered morale within the group, particularly for men and women of color.
By mid-morning, “S.S.” was among the top trending topics on Twitter.