A right-wing Idaho lawmaker called her state’s governor “Little Hitler” and suggested that workers deemed “nonessential” to the workforce during the coronavirus pandemic are being treated like Jews during the Holocaust.
“I mean, that’s no different than Nazi Germany, where you had government telling people: ‘You are an essential worker or a nonessential worker,’ and the nonessential workers got put on a train,” said State Rep. Heather Scott in a podcast interview, the Idaho State Journal reported Sunday.
Across the US, elected officials suspicious of big government and outraged with orders to close churches, gun stores and other businesses deemed nonessential insist that the public health response is being used as an excuse to trample constitutional rights.
Far-right extremists have increasingly compared the governors issuing the orders to Adolf Hitler, in a bid to spark chaos and use the crisis to amplify their ideology, according to experts.
Local leaders were outraged at Scott’s comments.
“Mass murder and genocide is not the same thing as deciding which businesses should essentially stay open and which should stay closed,” Rabbi Tamar Malino of Temple Beth Shalom in nearby Spokane, Washington, told the outlet.
Brenda Hammond, president of the Bonner County Human Rights Task Force, said the comments showed a “deep disregard and lack of respect for what the Jewish people experienced during the time of the Holocaust. It also shows an extreme ignorance of history.”
Scott responded in a Facebook post, saying that “biased local and national media continue to twist and turn facts away from their original intent and into their on-going war of hate towards conservatives and Americans in general.
“My videos and interviews are generating a lot of positive responses and people are waking up. My recent analogies are poignant and relative to our times. While human lives are certainly more valuable than a business, we cannot underestimate nor ignore that our businesses are the life blood of the citizens who own them, the communities they are in and to the customers they serve. Losing the former destroys the latter,” she wrote.
Scott previously called the governmental response to the virus “a way to chip away at the foundations of our Constitution to push a global, socialistic agenda while in the midst of a national emergency.”
Also in northern Idaho, Bonner County Sheriff Daryl Wheeler demanded in a letter that Republican Gov. Brad Little reconsider his statewide stay-home decree.
Wheeler’s letter questioned the reliability of World Health Organization coronavirus information and said “now it is time to reinstate our Constitution.”
“You can request those that are sick to stay home, but, at the same time, you must release the rest of us to go on with our normal business,” Wheeler wrote.
Little allowed restaurants to continue drive-through services and deliveries, but that didn’t appease arch-conservative members of his party.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.