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Yet another prominent Republican has compared vaccines, masks, and COVID restrictions to the Holocaust.
This time, it was the chair of the Oklahoma Republican Party, who made a Facebook post comparing hypothetical vaccine mandates to Nazi Germany’s treatment of Jews. Somehow, this is far from the first time this has happened during the COVID-19 pandemic. And now, John Bennett is doubling down.
Bennett’s Facebook post featured an image of a Star of David with the words “unvaccinated” on it. “Those who don’t KNOW history, are doomed to repeat it,” the post read.
Top Oklahoma officials, including Gov. Kevin Stitt, the state’s two U.S. senators, and leaders of both chambers of the state Legislature condemned Bennett’s remarks in a statement Friday, according to the Oklahoman.
“It is irresponsible and wrong to compare an effective vaccine—developed by President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed—to the horrors of the Holocaust," the Republicans said. "People should have the liberty to choose if they take the vaccine, but we should never compare the unvaccinated to the victims of the Holocaust.”
Bennett wasn’t quite done, though. In a nearly seven-minute video full of misinformation and falsehoods, posted to the party’s Facebook page on Sunday, Bennett castigated “my own fellow Republicans” for criticizing him and continued to analogize “vaccine passports”—which don’t even exist in any real way in the U.S.—with the Holocaust.
“When [the Nazis] put [the Star of David] on the Jews, they weren’t sending them directly to the gas chambers, they weren’t sending them directly to the incinerary [sic]. This was leading up to that,” Bennett said. “They give [Jews] a star to put on them, and they couldn’t go to the grocery store, they couldn’t go out in public, they couldn’t do anything without having that star on their shirt.”
“Take away the star and add a vaccine passport,” he added.
Bennett joins a long line of far-right Republicans who’ve compared a variety of measures intended to combat the pandemic to the horrors of Nazi genocide of 6 million Jews. In May, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene compared mask mandates to the Holocaust, and she only apologized after taking a field trip to the Holocaust Museum in D.C. It took all of three weeks for her to once again compare liberals to Nazis.
In addition to Greene, Rep. Madison Cawthorn—who once visited Adolf Hitler’s vacation home and said it had been on his “bucket list”—similarly compared vaccine passports to the policies of Nazi Germany in March. In June, an Alaska state representative shared an image on Facebook comparing public health officials and the media to Nazi doctors who were hanged for war crimes, with the caption: “Still so sure you want to try to force me to get the experimental vaccination?”
And in June, Washington state lawmaker Jim Walsh wore a Star of David during a meeting with a conservative group. “In the current context, we’re all Jews,” he said in a comment below a Facebook livestream.
In addition to being wildly offensive, Bennett’s video was also full of misinformation and lies.
“In the United States of America, we’ve got mandated vaccines, we’ve got mandated mask wearing,” Bennett said, even though there are no state or local governments in the U.S. that require the public to get vaccinated. “Just recently, we saw where [Dr. Anthony] Fauci said just last week, where 3-year-olds have to get vaccinated now.”
Fauci said children over the age of 3 should be wearing masks; no one under the age of 12 is even authorized to get vaccinated.