State GOP leader Karamo doubles down on gun control tweet invoking Holocaust imagery
FOX 2 (WJBK) - Michigan GOP chairwoman Kristina Karamo says a controversial tweet of a meme referencing the Holocaust and gun confiscation is meant to be about learning from history - the potential tyranny of the government if Second Amendment rights are trounced upon.
"We’ve been so comfortable for so long the concept of an abusive government is just crazy talk… history has shown us we should take it seriously," Karamo said. "Any notion that the Michigan Republican Party drawing comparisons between historical events and the Democrats' push to disarm the people of Michigan is somehow offensive, or bigoted, is flat-out dishonest."
Here’s a look at the tweet from the Michigan GOP saying "History has shown us that the first thing a government does when It wants control over its people is to disarm them." This, along with a quote from President Ronald Reagan. But the controversial part is a meme with the picture and text, "Before they collected all these wedding rings, they collected all the guns." A reference to the genocide of Jewish people during World War II.
"It’s not just a trivialization of the Holocaust, it become a trivialization of antisemitism and hate," said Rabbi Asher Lopatin.
Rabbi Lopatin executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council was at Wednesday's press conference as Chairwoman Karamo sought to explain the tweet. FOX 2 was sitting next to him and caught some of their exchange.
"There’s a difference between learning from history, and exploiting history, and trivializing history," said Lopatin. "I want to know, did your group ask any Jews?"
"Let me ask you this, do you speak for every Jewish person?"
"Absolutely not," Lopatin said.
"You speak for yourself," Karamo said.
"I represent the federation of Michigan ..." he said.
"You speak for yourself," Karamo said. "There are plenty of Jewish people who agree with me."
Michigan GOP chair Kristina Karamo, inset: The tweeted meme that has sparked criticism from many in Metro Detroit.
No group is a monolith, but several leaders of those groups have come out against the tweet including Michigan Democrats and members of Karamo’s own party, like the Republican Jewish Coalition, tweeting "There are many other ways to make this argument without invoking the holocaust….
Democrat State Sen. Jeremy Moss from Southfield blasted the comments.
"What a totally dumbed down version of history," he said.
Moss is a member of the Jewish community and said he sees no acceptable parallel between the Holocaust and gun safety.
"I’ve never once heard a single Jewish person in discussing the impact of the Holocaust wish that grandmothers and grandfathers, and infants and children were gassed to death, wish that they only had firearms."
Karamo was asked if the bombast of the tweet overshadowed the intended message.
FOX 2: "Do you think this will be a persistent distraction from legitimate discussions about gun control?"
"I will not allow my opponents to create a distraction," she said. "That’s why I kept it focused on the issues. I speak here as a descendant of slaves, my family experienced government abuse, so I am really not interested in someone trying to lecture me about being sensitive."
Karamo said she has no plans to take down the tweet. Watch her full press conference below: