I’m starting to think the Republican Party is not sending their best to Congress.
In newly unearthed audio from Media Matters for America, Republican Congressional candidate Carl Paladino, who is backed by top House Republican Elise Stefanik (she’s N0. 3 in power), said in a radio appearance that Hitler is “the kind of leader we need today.”
“We need somebody inspirational. We need somebody that is a doer, has been there and done it,” Paladino said on The r-House Radio Show in February 2021. He also praised the Nazi leader’s ability to “arouse the crowds,” and “hypnotize” people by “screaming these epithets.”
Praising Hitler for being a “doer” at a time when anti-Semitic incidents in the US hit a record high last year is not only bizarre but objectively terrifying, particularly from a candidate who’s been legitimized by endorsements from top party leaders and has a good chance of being elected. Stefanik, who’s more recently sweepingly called every Democratic politician a “pedo,” has called Paladino a “friend” and “conservative outsider who will be a tireless fighter.”
Paladino, a Republican businessman and political commentator, is currently running for New York’s 23rd Congressional District, making the announcement shortly after Republican Rep. Chris Jacobs dropped out of his reelection bid last week. Prior to audio of his Hitler comments making the rounds, Paladino shared posts on Facebook pushing the conspiracy theory that the recent mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, were staged, and meant to “revoke the 2nd amendment and take away guns.”
Conspiracy theories that mass shootings are false flags by the left to take away people’s guns aren’t new—Alex Jones and his ilk have been spreading abhorrent lies like this since Sandy Hook in 2012. Electing a conspiracy theorist of Jones’s caliber to Congress doesn’t exactly bode well for democracy.
As for Paladino’s Hitler comments, unfortunately, the praise is hardly outlandish within his own party. In April, a Republican state lawmaker in Tennessee said Hitler’s rise to power in Nazi Germany after experiencing homelessness should inspire us. “For two years, Hitler lived on the streets and practiced his oratory and his body language and how to connect with the masses, and then went on to lead a life that got him in the history books,” state Sen. Frank S. Niceley said on the Senate floor. “So, lots of these people—it’s not a dead end. They can come out of these homeless camps and have a productive life.”
Between Hitler enthusiasts, mass shooting conspiracy theorists, and of course, a man suspected of killing his wife, these are the candidates that are being put forth by the Republican Party. I’m sure we can get things done if we just reach across the aisle!