— by David Streeter
The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) today denounced Maine Republican Governor Paul LePage for doubling down on his stunningly inappropriate comments comparing the Internal Revenue Service to the Gestapo at a fundraiser Thursday morning. NJDC President and CEO David A. Harris said:
Comparing a long-standing federal agency to Hitler’s secret police, especially in the context of providing millions of Americans with much-needed health care insurance is simply absurd. That this is LePage’s second time doing so in the past week is completely unacceptable — even with Monday’s tepid apology. Trivializing the suffering and deaths of millions at the hands of the Gestapo is completely unacceptable, and the governor — indeed any elected official — should know better than this. LePage — who is just the latest in an increasingly long line of Republicans who have crassly invoked the Holocaust for their own political purposes — must give a true apology at once.
More after the jump.
With his comments, LePage joins the ranks of other Republicans such as:
- Presidential candidate and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich,
- Florida Governor Rick Scott (R-FL),
- Senator Rand Paul (R-KY),
- Representative Allen West (R-FL),
- Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN),
- Representative Trent Franks (R-AZ),
- West Virginia Senate candidate John Raese,
- Florida House candidate Adam Hasner, and
- Ohio House candidate Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher among others
who have shamefully abused the Holocaust to make political points.
Paul Heintz of Seven Days reported:
Following a fundraiser for Vermont Republican gubernatorial candidate Randy Brock Thursday morning, Maine Gov. Paul LePage repeated and elaborated on controversial comments he made over the weekend equating the Internal Revenue Service with the Gestapo.
Standing by Brock’s side at the Sheraton in South Burlington, the Maine governor said, ‘What I am trying to say is the Holocaust was a horrific crime against humanity and, frankly, I would never want to see that repeated. Maybe the IRS is not quite as bad – yet.’
LePage then said, ‘They’re headed in that direction.’
Asked if he had a sense of what the Gestapo did during the second world war, LePage said, ‘Yeah, they killed a lot of people.’ Asked whether the IRS ‘was headed in the direction of killing a lot of people, ‘LePage answered: ‘Yeah.’
LePage’s words went well beyond a controversial comment he made in his weekly radio address over the weekend. Speaking about the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision largely upholding the Affordable Care Act, LePage told his radio audience that, ‘This decision has made America less free. We the people have been told there is no choice. You must buy health insurance or pay the new Gestapo – the IRS.’
Following a national uproar, LePage partially retracted the comment, saying in a statement that it was not his intent to insult anyone and that ‘Clearly, what has happened is that the use of the word Gestapo has clouded my message.’