Medium: Why won’t Republicans condemn the ignorance and bigotry of Mo Brooks?

March 29, 2019

By Steve Sheffy

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) disgraced himself, his party, and the House of Representatives on March 25 when he slurred Democrats by comparing them to Nazis and reading from Mein Kampf on the floor of the House. Yet not one Republican has condemned him. Can Republicans only recognize ignorance and hate when it comes from the other side of the aisle?

We cannot allow this to go unnoticed. Congressman Brooks compared Democrats to Nazis, who murdered six million Jews and whom hundreds of thousands of Americans sacrificed their lives to defeat. This rhetoric has no place anywhere, let alone in the House of Representatives.

Brooks also demonstrated his appalling ignorance of what Nazis stood for by using the full name of the Nazi party, National Socialist German Workers Party, to compare the Nazis to today’s Democratic socialists. Brooks either doesn’t know or doesn’t care that the Nazis were not socialists as that term is commonly understood; the Nazis murdered socialists. The Nazis were fascists, a fact that most Americans learn by middle school, but of which Brooks is conveniently unaware.

Brooks also invoked the “big lie” concept used by Nazis in an attempt to disparage Democrats for wanting to get to the truth contained in the Mueller Report, which Republicans, including Brooks, have not seen themselves. Far from being ashamed of this disgraceful — and even anti-Semitic — rhetoric and behavior, Brooks posted a video of his speech to his YouTube channel. The only Republican weighing in thus far, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), not only defended Brooks, but also demonstrated that he doesn’t understand the dark history of Nazism either. As we know all too well, those who don’t understand history are most likely to repeat it.

Perhaps most shocking — not one Republican has condemned this toxic mix of hatred and ignorance. The Republican Jewish Coalition has also said nothing despite its barrage of outrage following isolated incidents of anti-Semitic language coming from Democrats, which the Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA) condemned. Perhaps we should not be surprised. It took Republicans 16 years to notice the bigotry of Rep. Steve King (R-IA). House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) refused to apologize for his pre-election anti-Semitic tweet in which he proclaimed “we cannot allow Soros, Steyer, and Bloomberg to BUY this election!” The head of the Republican Party himself, President Donald Trump, ran a campaign based on anti-Semitic themes and continues to traffic in anti-Semitism while turning a blind eye to white supremacy.

What is most galling is that Republicans are playing the American Jewish community for fools. Just this week, some of them spoke at the AIPAC Policy Conference about what good friends they are to the Jewish community and about how we must speak out against anti-Semitism. Yet when a member of their own party, the same week, compares Democrats to the most evil anti-Semites in history, when a member of their own party states that Nazis were socialists when in fact the opposite is true, they are silent. Meanwhile, JDCA and other Democrats continue to call out acts of anti-Semitism when they occur on both sides of the aisle.

If Republicans lack the integrity to speak out against hatred and bigotry coming from one of their own, they have no standing to speak out against anyone else, and their words ring hollow and smack of insincerity. They cannot pretend anti-Semitism is only a problem when it comes from a Democrat. Republicans might want to use Jews as political pawns, but we reject it — full stop. We will stand up. We will speak up. We will not be silent. No self-respecting Jew, no self-respecting American, should support a political party so blithely unconcerned that it is affiliated with embarrassments like Rep. Mo Brooks and Rep. Louie Gohmert.

Steve Sheffey is Strategy and Policy Adviser to the Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA) and the publisher of the weekly Chicagoland Pro-Israel Political Update. The views expressed here are his own.