Last week West Virginia Republican Senate Candidate John Raese made an insensitive comparison between the Holocaust and smoking restrictions:
I don’t want government telling me what I can do and what I can’t do because I’m an American. But in Monongalia County you can’t smoke a cigarette, you can’t smoke a cigar, you can’t do anything. And I oppose that because I believe in everybody’s individual freedoms and everybody’s individual rights to do what they want to do and I’m a conservative and that’s the way that goes.
But in Monongalia County now, I have to put a huge sticker on my buildings to say this is a smoke free environment. This is brought to you by the government of Monongalia County. Ok?
Remember Hitler used to put Star of David on everybody’s lapel, remember that? Same thing.
Yesterday — which was Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, April 19, 2012 — Raise doubled down defending his obscene remarks:
No, this is not a standard line, nor a misstatement. It is a loss of freedom. As Ronald Reagan once said, there is no such thing as partial freedom, there is only freedom.
NJDC President and CEO David A. Harris commented:
Comparing smoking restrictions to the Holocaust is never acceptable on any day of the year. But for West Virginia Republican Senate candidate John Raese to apparently defend those comments on Holocaust Remembrance Day takes the insensitivity and callousness of his remarks to the next level. Raese-who is just the latest Republican to use this type of inappropriate rhetoric-must apologize immediately and quit defending his offensive remarks.
With this remark, Raese joins the ranks of other Republicans such as
- Former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA),
- Governor Rick Scott (R-FL),
- Senator Rand Paul (R-KY),
- Representative Allen West (R-FL),
- Representative Michelle Bachmann (R-MN),
- Representative Trent Franks (R-AZ), and
- Florida House candidate Adam Hasner
who have shamefully abused the Holocaust to make political points.