An Alaska state lawmaker has apologized after comparing a requirement to wear a health-screening sticker to enter the state capitol to the Nazis forcing Jews to wear the yellow Star of David patch during the Holocaust.
“If my sticker falls off, do I get a new one or do I get public shaming too?” wrote state Rep. Ben Carpenter, a Republican, in an email on Friday to all 39 of his Alaska House of Representatives colleagues, slamming a requirement that, starting on Monday, those entering the state legislature will have to undergo a health screening, and that those who pass will need to wear a sticker.
“How about an arm band that won’t fall off like a sticker will?” stated the email. “If my sticker falls off, do I get a new one or do I get public shaming too? Are the stickers available as a yellow Star of David?”
The Alaska Landmine first reported on the email.
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In an interview later on Friday with The Anchorage Daily News, Carpenter doubled down and added that Adolf Hitler was not a white supremacist.
“Can you or I—can we even say it is totally out of the realm of possibility that COVID-19 patients will be rounded up and taken somewhere?” he said. “People want to say Hitler was a white supremacist. No. He was fearful of the Jewish nation, and that drove him into some unfathomable atrocities.”
In an opinion piece on Sunday in Must Read Alaska, Carpenter apologized.
“My email comments have been perceived by many to be offensive. For any offense taken, I apologize because my words are my responsibility. It was not my intent to be offensive; quite the opposite.
“I take my responsibility as the voice of the people who elected me very seriously. I also hold the Jewish people in the highest regard. I do not take myself so seriously that I cannot recognize that the words I wrote, and those attributed to me, do not adequately reflect the esteem I hold for either group of people,” he wrote.
Carpenter went on to state that “the purpose for my word choice in my email was torpedoed by the analogy I chose to use and the inadequacy of a few sentences. As I reflect back on those few moments it took to draft my words, I had hoped to draw attention to a complex mix of issues: government overreach, personal liberty and privacy, and fear. These are issues that are near and dear to myself and the constituents that I represent.”
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