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GOP congressman compares COVID measures to Holocaust, leading intern to quit

Andrew Zirkle says Thomas Massie’s tweet ‘insensitive’ to Holocaust victims and survivors, and of an ‘antisemitic nature’

File: Republican congressman Thomas Massie walks down the House steps after a vote at the Capitol, Sept. 17, 2020. (Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images/JTA)
File: Republican congressman Thomas Massie walks down the House steps after a vote at the Capitol, Sept. 17, 2020. (Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images/JTA)

Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie was not the first Republican lawmaker to compare public health measures aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 to the Holocaust when he posted an image of a wrist with a number tattoo on Twitter on Wednesday.

Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert have also made such comparisons, along with several lower-level officials who have made similar comparisons across the country in recent weeks.

“If you have to carry a card on you to gain access to a restaurant, venue or an event in your own country… that’s no longer a free country,” read the text in the image Massie tweeted, which he deleted shortly afterward.

But Massie’s example got an extra burst of attention after one of his interns resigned in a letter that he posted to Twitter, where it went viral. The intern, Andrew Zirkle, called his former boss’s post antisemitic.

“The tweet that Congressman Massie tweeted last night, in which he compared vaccine passports to the Holocaust, was insensitive to not only survivors of the Holocaust, but the millions who perished as a result,” Zirkle wrote. “The antisemitic nature of this post is beyond apology and as a result, I cannot in good conscience continue at my current position.”

He added: “Never meet your heroes and definitely don’t work for them.”

In a subsequent tweet, Zirkle expressed surprise over how widely shared his resignation letter had been, saying that his tweet “was mostly supposed to be for folks who knew me personally.”

The Anti-Defamation League called on Massie to apologize, saying that “deleting this isn’t enough.” So far, Massie has not commented publicly about his post.

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