A prominent Republican congressman recently gave an extended tirade that argued Democrats are disloyal, unpatriotic, dangerous traitors to America—and twice invoked Nazis to make his point.
“They are not the loyal opposition. They are the opposition to everything you love and believe in,” Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Scott Perry said of Democrats as he concluded a speech to the conservative Pennsylvania Leadership Conference on June 11. “Go fight them.”
Perry, a member of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus, used the entirety of his 20-minute speech to argue that modern Democrats want to destroy America and don’t share the same fundamental principles and values of real “patriots.”
The congressman argued that differentiating between Democrats was like discerning between Germans during the Nazi reign—that it was fair to lump all Democrats together as extremists because even those who don’t support those views don’t stand up to their members who do.
“They are not the loyal opposition. They are the opposition to everything you love and believe in.”
“We can acknowledge that maybe not every one of them is that way, but that doesn't matter,” he said. “We've seen this throughout history, right? Not every not every citizen in Germany in the 1930s and ’40s was in the Nazi Party. They weren't. But what happened across Germany? That's what's important. What were the policies? What was the leadership? That's what we have to focus on.”
The speech can be watched in full here:
Later, Perry argued that the corporations who opposed Republicans’ attempts to crack down on voting access mirrored the creep of fascism in Germany before the Nazi Party firmly cracked down on its citizens.
“It wasn't a government in Germany that took the people's rights away immediately. It was fascism. Fascism took it away, because the government put the heavy hand on the companies and the companies did the government's work. Well look around, ladies and gentlemen,” he said.
“We support big business, but not if it's anti-America, not if it's anti-American, and we shouldn't be afraid to say it,” Perry continued on.
Perry, a former Army brigadier general and Iraq War veteran, is one of the most vociferous and vehement members of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus. And he’s not the only hard-line Republican who’s been invoking Nazis while discussing the other side—in the days leading up to his speech, fellow Freedom Caucus member and Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene had repeatedly tied Democrats to Nazis and compared COVID-19 mask mandates to the holocaust.
But unlike other Freedom Caucus members, Perry actually represents a swing district: He only won his 2020 race by six points, as Donald Trump carried the district by three points. It’s unclear whether the district will become more or less competitive when its lines change in redistricting before the next election.
“It wasn't a government in Germany that took the people's rights away immediately. It was fascism.”
The Nazi comparisons weren’t the only eyebrow-raisers in Perry’s tirade, as he accused the media of lying about COVID-19 and mask-wearing, called the 2020 election a “debacle” while insinuating it was rigged, and cast the stakes of the fight against Democrats in near-apocalyptic terms.
“Ladies and gentlemen, there's a plan,” he said ominously after accusing Democrats of trying to intentionally destroy America’s economy by causing runaway inflation and oil scarcity. “They'll tell you they're patriots. But the patriots like the patriots in this room must acknowledge that things are different now. They want to destroy the country that you grew up in. They want to destroy the country that the founders made. That is their plan. That is their goal. That's why they're doing these things.”
That’s far from the first time he’s made such a claim: After Trump lost last November’s election, Perry emerged as a leading proponent of the lie that the election was stolen from the president, speaking at a Stop the Steal rally to bolster the case that Trump had actually won Pennsylvania and telling Fox Business that his state’s election was a “horrific embarrassment.”
Perry was the person who introduced Trump to an obscure official in the Justice Department for Trump who supported his false view that the election had been stolen, and encouraged Trump to fire his acting Attorney General to install that crony. Trump almost went along with the plan, only backing down when his top officials threatened to resign en masse.
Just hours after those claims led to the January 6 Capitol riots, Perry rose in the House to object to certifying Pennsylvania’s own electoral slate for Biden.
This speech is far from the only time Perry has generated controversy.
Perry also used an April House hearing to push replacement theory—the racist claim that the left is pro-immigration because Democrats want to erase American identity.
“For many Americans,” Perry said, “what seems to be happening or what they believe right now is happening is, what appears to them is we’re replacing national-born American — native-born Americans to permanently transform the political landscape of this very nation.”
Perry wasn’t thrilled to talk about the speech with VICE News—perhaps unsurprisingly, given that he also used his speech to accuse the media of being in the pocket of the left and intentionally misleading people.
“I reject the premise of the question,” he said when VICE News asked why he’d made allusions to Nazis while talking about Democrats.
“I'm not interested. Thank you,” he said when asked if he would discuss the speech, ducking into an elevator just off of the House floor. When VICE News asked if he thought Democrats were patriots he repeated “I reject the premise of the question.”
He glared as VICE News asked what that premise was that he disputed. Missouri Republican Rep. Billy Long, a former auctioneer who had also boarded the elevator, then broke into an auctioneering chant to intentionally drown out any possible follow-up questions until the elevator doors had closed.