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August 24, 2022 1:05 pm
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Equating COVID Lockdowns With Nazism Is ‘Legitimate,’ Minnesota Republican Candidate Says

avatar by Dion J. Pierre

Minnesota State Senator Scott Jensen. Photo: Facebook.

US Jewish groups are criticizing a Republican gubernatorial candidate who has doubled down on his claim that COVID-19 lockdown restrictions are comparable to Nazism and the events of Kristallnacht.

Minnesota State Senator Scott Jensen insisted on Tuesday in a video posted to Facebook that the analogy is “a legitimate comparison.”

“When I make a comparison that says that I saw government policies intruding on American freedoms incrementally, one piece at a time, and compare that to what happened in the 1930s, I think it’s a legitimate comparison,” he elaborated. “It may not strike your fancy — that’s fine. But this is how I think, and don’t get to be my thought police person.”

Jensen first said similar remarks in April, during a “mask off” event in Hinckley, a city of Pine County about 80 miles north of Minneapolis.

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“If you look at the 1930s and you look at it carefully, we could see some things happening; little things that people chose to push aside…And then the little things grew into something bigger. There there was a night called Kristallnacht — the night of the breaking glass,” he said at the time. “Then there was book burning, and it kept growing and growing, and a guy named Hitler kept growing in power, and World War II came about. Well, in a way, I think that’s why you’re here today. You sense something’s happening, and it’s growing little by little.”

Jewish Community Action, a Jewish civil society organization based in Minnesota, slammed Jensen’s comments, tweeting on Tuesday that “weaponizing trauma for political gain is never ok.”

The group said it hopes Jensen “is given the opportunity to explain himself.”

Also commenting on Twitter, Jacob Millner of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) called Jensen’s video “disappointing.”

“To equate a public health emergency with Kristallnacht, a terror spree in Germany that destroyed Jewish homes, businesses, and synagogues, is not a legitimate comparison,” he added. “We call upon Jensen to refrain from further Holocaust comparisons. Instead, he should seek to better understand the severity of the Holocaust and realize there is no comparison to the horror it inflicted on millions of people.”

Minnesota’s Lt. Governor, Peggy Flanagan, described Jensen’s remarks as “dangerous” and said rejecting them is “the bare minimum we should expect from leaders.”

Jensen’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

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