Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Ohio, became the latest Republican to draw scrutiny for comparing COVID-19 mitigation efforts to policies of Germany’s Nazi regime in a series of tweets Wednesday.
Responding to a message from Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser about a vaccine and mask mandate in the city, Davidson tweeted out a Nazi document and the message, “This has been done before. #DoNotComply.”
“Let’s recall that the Nazis dehumanized Jewish people before segregating them, segregated them before imprisoning them, imprisoned them before enslaving them, and enslaved them before massacring them,” added Davidson.
The official Twitter account for the Auschwitz Museum replied to Davidson, writing, “Exploiting of the tragedy of all people who between 1933-45 suffered, were humiliated, tortured & murdered by the totalitarian regime of Nazi Germany in a debate about vaccines & covid limitations in the time of global pandemic is a sad symptom of moral and intellectual decay.”
Davidson, who was first elected in 2016 and represents a district in the western portion of the Buckeye State, is not the first GOP politician to invoke Nazism when pushing back against vaccine and mask mandates. While many Republican legislators have promoted the vaccines, numerous others have baselessly insisted that the shots are unsafe.
At the end of last year, the Twitter account for Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee deleted a tweet that read: “If the booster shots work, why don’t they work?” According to tracking from the Kaiser Family Foundation, only 59 percent of Republicans have been vaccinated, versus 91 percent of Democrats and 68 percent of independents.
Last year, Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., compared the idea of a vaccine passport to Nazi policies.
“Proposals like these smack of 1940s Nazi Germany. We must make every effort to keep America from becoming a ‘show your papers society,’” Cawthorn told Fox News. “The Constitution and our founding principles decry this type of totalitarianism.”
A few months later, Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., tweeted and then deleted a meme expressing the same sentiments. In addition, a number of Republican candidates running for House seats this coming November likened the COVID policies to Nazism.
On Monday, New York City Council member Vickie Paladino, a Republican, made the comparison when telling news outlet NY1 she wouldn’t reveal her vaccination status.
“It’s just nobody’s business whether I am or not. See, it’s called medical freedom,” she said, adding, “I don’t need to show you my papers. This is not Nazi Germany.”
The most high-profile advocate of the comparison is likely Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R- Ga., who has repeatedly compared those promoting mask and vaccine usage to Nazis. In May, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said her comments comparing a rule on face coverings to the Holocaust were “appalling.”
“There is no comparison to the Holocaust,” Greene said in June after visiting the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. “And there are words that I have said in remarks that I’ve made that I know are offensive, and for that, I want to apologize.”
A few months later, during a November appearance on former Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s podcast, Greene once again railed against “vaccine Nazis” and stated proudly that she is “not vaccinated, and I’m not getting the vaccine because I’m an American.”
“I’m sorry. I know I’m using the word ‘Nazi’ and everybody gets mad when I say it, but that’s exactly what [mandates] are,” she added.