Holocaust group condemns congressman’s use of Hitler phrase
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama Holocaust Commission is condemning a congressman’s use of Adolf Hitler’s phrase “big lie” to describe allegations that President Donald Trump colluded with Russian operatives during the 2016 presidential election.
The commission released a statement Wednesday criticizing north Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks’ use of the term, first employed by Hitler in “Mein Kampf” to blame Jewish people for the defeat of Germany in World War I, The Montgomery Advertiser reported. The Huntsville Republican used it in a March 25 speech in the U.S. House criticizing the collusion allegations.
“Socialist Democrats and their fake news media allies were shameless in their ‘Big Lie’ scam that has inspired hatred against President Trump and violence against Americans who support America’s foundational principles,” Brooks said in the speech. He added that he believed U.S. Attorney General William Barr’s summary of an investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller provided “vindication” for Trump. The summary found no evidence of collusion but did not exonerate Trump.
The commission’s statement said the 6 million Jewish men, women and children murdered by the Nazi regime “deserve unique remembrance, and the words of those who conducted and orchestrated this genocide in Hitler’s name do not deserve to be recognized, much less reiterated in the halls of Congress.”
“Such facile comparisons, used in order to demean opponents and gain political capital, should be actively avoided,” the statement continued. “Using such rhetoric not only trivializes our past, as well as the victims of this genocide, but also cheapens our current discourse and maintains a divisive rhetoric all too common at the present time.”
In an interview Thursday, Brooks stood by his characterization of history and questioned the commission’s political leanings. He also inaccurately referred to Germany’s Nazi Party as the Socialist Party of Germany. It was actually called the National Socialist German Workers Party.
“The Socialist Party of Germany is the most infamous and horrific example of the use of the Big Lie propaganda tactic,” the congressman said. “As such, it should be cited regularly so that people will be reminded of how horrific the consequences can be if we let political figures and the media get by with using the Big Lie propaganda tactic.”
In a statement released by his office, Brooks said the “Commission’s bizarre and history-ignoring letter prompts one to wonder how many of the Commission’s members joined America’s Socialist Democrats in undermining the legitimacy of the 2016 presidential election by also spreading the ‘Big Lie,’ without credible evidence, that President Trump colluded with the Russians to steal the 2016 presidential race.”
Dan Puckett, chairman of the Alabama Holocaust Commission and a professor of history at Troy University who specializes in the Holocaust, said Thursday he was “puzzled” by that response and said the Alabama Holocaust Commission’s mission was to provide education about the Holocaust and other genocides.
He said politicians on any side need to avoid rhetoric that “makes the victims, the Holocaust survivors, trivia to be dismissed to score political points.”
“It’s better if we avoid those sorts of comparisons, and avoid that rhetoric together,” he said. “The fact is we’re losing our civility. This does not help.”
Information from: Montgomery Advertiser, http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com