Multiple Minnesota Republicans Compare Masks to Nazism
Over the weekend, a couple wore Nazi flag face masks at a Minnesota Walmart to protest the state’s new mask mandate. The couple was not alone in making that comparison, however. Today, the Minnesota DFL Party is condemning multiple offensive, inflammatory, and absurd comparisons drawn by several Minnesota Republicans between Minnesota’s mask mandate and Nazi persecution of Jewish people.
The Republican Party of Wabasha County posted the following image to their Facebook page yesterday, which draws parallels between COVID-19 masks and the yellow stars Jewish people were forced to wear by Nazis during the Holocaust:
The Minnesota Republican Party Chair tried to distance her Party from the post, claiming the page was hacked, however leaders in her Party have made the mask/Nazism comparison before. Two Minnesota Republican Party-endorsed candidates for state legislature have also drawn parallels between the genocidal Nazi regime and the requirement that Minnesotans wear masks to protect against COVID-19.
Paul Brandmire, the MNGOP-backed candidate for House District 14B, drew the following parallel during a debate over a St. Cloud mask mandate:
Brandmire: “I mean if we can mandate masks we can certainly mandate that any COVID-positive people wear some sort of identification badge, maybe like a bright yellow star or something on their lapel.”
Elizabeth Bangert (Elizabeth Joy on Facebook), the MNGOP-backed candidate for Senate District 19, posted a Facebook live video during which she attacks someone for being a “mask Nazi.”
Bangert drew several more parallels between Nazism and coronavirus precautions, including claiming the agenda behind said precautions was “eugenics” and adding “Germany anyone?”
Bangert also posted an attack on a possible Mankato mask mandate and followed it up with an accusation that Child Protection Services was forcibly and secretly removing children from homes where someone tested positive for COVID-19. She closed the post by saying “I’m not going to remain silent and I’m not getting on the train. I will not wear a mask,” an apparent reference to the trains Nazi Germany used to forcibly deport Jewish people to labor and death camps.
The Republican Party of Minnesota has also drawn parallels between brutal, repressive dictatorships and being required to wear a piece of cloth to stop a deadly virus. Jennifer Carnahan, the Chair of the Minnesota GOP, recently tweeted the following:
– I’m an American Citizen. I live in a free country. You can not mandate that I wear a mask. You can strongly suggest it, but you can NOT mandate it. This is not North Korea, and you are not Kim Jong-un.
… or are you?
In an email newsletter, the Minnesota Republican Party has also claimed that “over the past four months, our state has been living under tyranny as our Governor has continued to unilaterally control our lives – every aspect of it…”
DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin released the following statement on the impact of this rhetoric:
“Drawing comparisons between mask mandates and Nazism, genocidal regimes, and murderous dictators is vile, unhinged, and should be beneath Minnesota Republican candidates, party leaders, and local units. I’m calling on the Republican Party of Minnesota to renounce the use of this rhetoric and sanction candidates and local units that persist in leveling these disgraceful attacks.”
“Leaders of the Minnesota Republican Party must recognize the radicalizing effect their words are having and the real, physical harm that could cause the people of Minnesota. Comparisons between mask mandates and Nazi Germany or North Korea risk driving up non-compliance rates and worsening future COVID-19 outbreaks in Minnesota.”
“Over two-dozen states, run by Democrats and Republicans, have implemented mask mandates because public health experts believe they can help slow the spread of a pandemic that has killed almost 150,000 Americans. I pray that Minnesota Republicans come to their senses and stop jeopardizing the safety of their neighbors.”