U.S. Rep. Davidson compares vaccine mandates to Holocaust; later apologizes

U.S. Rep. Warren Davidson, a Troy Republican, compared COVID mandates to the Holocaust in a tweet that was met with swift backlash. (Al Drago/Pool via AP- FILE)

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U.S. Rep. Warren Davidson, a Troy Republican, compared COVID mandates to the Holocaust in a tweet that was met with swift backlash. (Al Drago/Pool via AP- FILE)

A local Congressman provoked online outrage and condemnation for a tweet comparing COVID-19 health policies to Nazi Germany.

U.S. Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Troy, tweeted a photo Wednesday morning of a “gesundheitspass” — translated health pass — in his retweet of a post from Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser about vaccination proof mandates that begin Saturday in the capital.

Davidson, elected in 2016 to the seat previously held by former House Speaker John Boehner of West Chester Twp., wrote: “This has been done before. #DoNotComply.”

Below his tweet, Davidson — who represents Ohio’s 8th District that includes all of Butler, Clark, Darke, Miami, and Preble counties and southern Mercer County — said: “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.

“Dehumanizing and segregation are underway — and wrong.”

Jewish organizations condemned Davidson’s tweet, with the American Jewish Committee calling him “the latest elected official to exploit the Holocaust by making immoral and offensive comparisons between vaccine mandates and this dark period of history.”

The tweet also drew backlash from the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum in Poland.

“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,” museum officials tweeted.

The Anti-Defamation League tweeted: “It’s never appropriate to compare requirements for public health with the tactics of Nazi Germany. As we’ve said too many times to count, minimizing the Holocaust in this way is deeply offensive and harmful.

Backlash also came from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

“Comparing the Holocaust to pandemic precautions is inaccurate and offensive,” the museum tweeted.

The museum also posted a letter from Holocaust survivors who volunteer at the museum regarding the dangers of “reckless comparisons.”

In all, there were nearly 3,000 replies to Davidson’s retweet.

“Please don’t use my dead relatives’ memory to score cheap political points. Especially because Jewish law sets saving a life above all things--it’s a mitzvah to get the vaccine,” one posted.

Others called on Davidson to delete his post, and another who said he was a Nazi Germany historian called Davidson’s use of the health card inaccurate, saying it had nothing to do with health but was a way to police the so-called racial purity of Nazi Party members.

More than one twitter user pointed out the seeming irony of Davidson’s retweet from the day before of Texas Congressman Lance Gooden’s post that each citizen should show identification to vote. In Davidson’s retweet, he wrote “precisely.”

Davidson apologized in a late Thursday morning tweet.

“Bad things happen when governments dehumanize people. Sometimes, there is a next step - to systematically segregate them. Unfortunately, any reference to how the Nazis actually did that prevents a focus on anything other than the Holocaust. I appreciate my Jewish friends who have explained their perspectives and feel horrible that I have offended anyone. My sincere apologies.”

Requests for comment have been left with Davidson’s office.

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