Queens Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez has been receiving well-deserved criticism for debasing the memory of the Holocaust and misrepresenting ICE’s treatment of illegal immigrant children with her statement accusing the Trump administration of operating concentration camps.
While I agree with the criticism, House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) deserves as much, or perhaps even more, for insensitive Holocaust remarks as frequent than those of Ocasio-Cortez.
Interviewed by Sirius XM’s POTUS Channel in August 2013, Clyburn likened conservative bloggers to Hitler. “You have people’s words and phrases being misrepresented and looped through the news media and thrown out there on the Internet, and people run with it because these things start getting reported in the mainstream media, and before you know it, people believe that stuff,” Clyburn said. “The people of Germany believed Hitler’s foolishness that led to the Holocaust. They believed that stuff. People will tend to believe what they hear through the media.”
After the Charlottesville incident in 2017 and Trump’s words were misinterpreted, Clyburn said Trump was like Hitler. He did it again in January 2018 on CNN’s Don Lemon show. “Having studied history and having taught history, I can only equate one period of time with what we are experiencing now and that was what was going on in Germany around 1934 right after the 1932 elections when Adolf Hitler was elected chancellor,” Clyburn said.
When Lemon pointed out that Clyburn’s comments were hyperbolic, Clyburn walked his comment back a half step. “The number one difference in this, if I were making that comparison, then this president would be Mussolini and Putin would be Hitler,” he said.
Mussolini? While First Lady Melania Trump is a noted polyglot who speaks six languages fluently, including Italian, Trump doesn’t have the language skills to be Mussolini. And calling him any kind of dictator is a distortion of history, despite what the far left has been saying since he entered the presidential race. Trump is neither a bigot or a fascist.
If Clyburn was really a history teacher, he would know that fascism is system where the government controls everything, including the means of production — in other words, a socialist system. And while Putin is most assuredly a despot and a tyrant, he is not a Hitler, nor is his iron-fisted rule in the same universe as the Holocaust.
In early March of this year, when Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) began spewing anti-Semitism, Clyburn worked to protect her. The South Carolina congressman talked about Omar’s experiences in Sudan and in Kenyan refugee camps, and in the process slammed the children of Shoah victims who attempt to preserve the memory of their parents’ suffering.
As reported by The Hill, “Clyburn came to Omar’s defense Wednesday, lamenting that many of the media reports surrounding the recent controversy have omitted to mention that Omar, who was born in Somalia, had to flee the country to escape violence and spent four years in a Kenyan refugee camp before coming to the United States.
“Her experience, Clyburn argued, is much more empirical — and powerful — than that of people who are generations removed from the Holocaust, Japanese internment camps during World War II and the other violent episodes that have marked history. ‘I’m serious about that. There are people who tell me, Well, my parents are Holocaust survivors. My parents did this. It’s more personal with her,’ Clyburn said. ‘I’ve talked to her, and I can tell you she is living through a lot of pain.’”
That comment was so hurtful that the ADL broke its unspoken rule and criticized a liberal, tweeting, “The Holocaust was a singular tragedy resulting in the death of 6M Jews. It’s offensive to diminish the suffering of survivors & the continuing pain of Jews today. We respect @WhipClyburn’s long record of public service, but he should apologize & retract.”
Neither apologizing or adjusting his rhetoric, two weeks later Clyburn made the Trump-Hitler analogy again, this time to NBC News. “Adolf Hitler was elected chancellor of Germany. And he went about the business of discrediting institutions to the point that people bought into it,” Clyburn said. “Nobody would have believed it now. But swastikas hung in churches throughout Germany. We had better be very careful.”
He continued, “To allow anybody to discredit the press, discredit the military, to discredit our leadership in — both in the Congress and outside — we are asking for dire consequences and I think it’s time for the Congress, House and Senate, to grow spines and do what is necessary to protect this democracy,” he said. “This man and his family are the greatest threats to democracy of my lifetime.”
Clyburn has no idea what he’s talking about. Is he saying there are swastikas in American churches? Or is he saying the only one in the country without a First Amendment right to free speech is the president?
Trump discredits things he disagrees with using words. Hitler discredited people who disagreed with using bullets and worse. If America was becoming Nazi Germany, Clyburn’s words would have earned him a trip to a concentration camp — or worse.
Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez made one inappropriate reference to the Shoah. But for Rep. Clyburn, it seems to be his go-to reference.
What is it with Clyburn? Why does he insist on cheapening the memory of six million Jews who suffered through the Holocaust, along with those who survived its horrors, and the Jews who mourn their pain today and every day?
Perhaps it’s because of Clyburn’s friendship with Louis Farrakhan. In 2011, Clyburn wrote in the Nation of Islam’s Final Call magazine, “I want to thank Min. Farrakhan for offering up several precepts that we ought to adhere to.”
Based on his constant debasing of the Holocaust, we know which of Farrakhan’s precepts he is referring to.