Originally published in Newsweek.
Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona has defended fellow GOP lawmaker Marjorie Taylor Greene, as the furor continues over her comparison of compulsory COVID masks with the treatment of Jews during the Holocaust.
Gosar’s support for Greene follows her apology for likening coronavirus prevention rules—which included masks being worn on the chamber floor—to the order for Jews to wear “a gold star.”
She had been condemned from both sides of the aisle in May for those comments to the conservative outlet Real America’s Voice, in which she also referred to such measures in the same sentence as being “put in trains and taken to gas chambers in Nazi Germany.”
But Greene acknowledged that her remarks were “offensive,” in a mea culpa that followed a visit to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.
The freshman Georgia lawmaker said: “I have made a mistake,” and said that there is “no comparison to the Holocaust.”
“There are words I’ve said, remarks I’ve said, that I know have been offensive and for that I want to apologize,” she said on Monday in a statement that has been viewed more than 4.5 million times on social media.
But her apology got short shrift from the American Jewish Congress, the president of which, Jack Rosen, said her comparison to the Holocaust “is not merely outrageous, it is dangerous: diminishing the atrocities committed by Nazis is tantamount to denial.”
In response to Greene’s comments, the AJC has launched a social media campaign called #NotAProp in which Holocaust survivors describe the horrors of their experiences.
Meanwhile, Gosar saw the issue as a battle between political persuasions in a tweet in which he both backed Greene and appeared to take aim at the AJC for not accepting her apology.
Sharing the American Jewish Congress statement, he described Greene as “an American treasure,” and wrote: “she learned an important lesson recently: never apologize to the left.”
“There is nothing an America First fighter can say or do to appease a mob acting in bad faith,” he added.
In a statement to Newsweek, a spokesperson for the American Jewish Congress said it had rejected Greene’s apology, “because she continues to use the Holocaust as a prop for her own political purposes, which is an affront to the Jewish community and American values.”
“If she and Rep. Gosar, who supports her position, want to make amends, they will immediately stop labeling their political opponents as Nazis and Greene will stop fundraising off of anti-Semitic social media platforms like Gab,” the statement added.
On Tuesday, Gosar claimed that a Capitol police officer was “lying in wait” to shoot Ashli Babbitt during the January 6 riots.
During questioning of FBI Director Christopher Wray, Gosar described Babbitt’s death as an “execution.” The Capitol police officer who fatally shot her as she tried to trespass into a barricaded doorway of the Capitol building on January 6 has been cleared of wrongdoing.
Gosar and Greene, both supporters of former President Donald Trump, were also among the 21 GOP lawmakers who voted against giving Gold Medals to all police officers who defended the Capitol on January 6.
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