Donald Trump told his chief of staff that Adolf Hitler "did a lot of good things" as leader of Nazi Germany, according to a new book. 

The former president was on a tour of Europe in 2018 when the retired four-star Marine general John Kelly gave him an impromptu history lesson to "remind the President which countries were on which side during the conflict" and "connect the dots from the First World War to the Second World War and all of Hitler’s atrocities", it has been claimed.

But Michael Bender, author of the forthcoming book Frankly We Did Win This Election, alleges that Mr Trump insisted on outlining the positives of Germany’s economic recovery during the 1930s, saying: "Well, Hitler did a lot of good things."

According to The Guardian, which has obtained a copy of the book, Mr Kelly was "stunned" but "pushed back again and argued that the German people would have been better off poor than subjected to the Nazi genocide". 

Mr Trump allegedly made the remark during a trip to Europe in 2018

Credit: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Mr Kelly then told Mr Trump that even if his claim about the German economy under the Nazis after 1933 were true, "you cannot ever say anything supportive of Adolf Hitler. You just can’t," the book says.

Mr Trump has denied making the remark about Hitler, Mr Bender said. The Telegraph has contacted his office for comment.

The book further alleges that Mr Trump displayed a "stunning disregard for history" while in power.

"Senior officials described his understanding of slavery, Jim Crow, or the black experience in general post-civil war as vague to nonexistent," Mr Bender says. 

"But Trump’s indifference to black history was similar to his disregard for the history of any race, religion or creed."

Other Republican figures have been heavily criticised for bringing Nazi Germany into contemporary debates, for example, the coronavirus pandemic.

Marjorie Taylor Greene, an outspoken representative for Georgia recently had to apologise after comparing government face-mask policies to the Nazi practice of labeling Jews with Star of David badges.