An Arizona Republican politician has come under fire after comparing vaccinated people to Nazis and vaccine mandates to the oppression of the Holocaust.
In a tweet posted earlier this week, Arizona Republican State Senator Kelly Townsend also shared an image of a swastika made of vaccine syringes, absurdly claiming that vaccinated people's insistence upon increased vaccination uptake means the vaccine must not work.
The Arizona branch of the Anti-Defamation League—one of the country's oldest and most prominent Jewish organizations—pushed back against her rhetoric.
In response to her swastika post, the ADL tweeted:
"[Townsend] should delete this outrageous and offensive tweet. There is never a valid time to share this flag which represents oppression and genocide for so many."
"Comparing health mandates to Nazism is highly insensitive and escalates tensions around efforts to fight [the virus]."
Arizona Republican state Senator Townsend admonished the Jewish organization to "Learn your history."
The GOP politician's suggestion members of the ADL would not know the history of the Holocaust left many shocked.
Townsend, who represents the Phoenix suburbs of Mesa and Apache Junction, received blowback from the Jewish community within her district as well.
The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Phoenix called her post "shameful, offensive and insensitive."
Townsend advised them to also "learn [Holocaust] history."
Townsend went on to like and share several tweets from other Republicans comparing the personal inconveniences anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers create by refusing to follow public health mandates during a global pandemic to Nazis and the Holocaust.
One of those tweets featured Arizona Republican Senator TJ Shope's face photoshopped onto a Nazi officer of the Ordnungspolizei. They were the police force responsible for clearing Polish Jewish neighborhoods and sending their residents to ghettos then on to work and death camps like Auschwitz, Treblinka and Dachau.
The comparison between Shope and Nazis who committed atrocities like burning Jews alive inside a synagogue was made because Shope voted against legislation that forbade Arizona businesses from denying entry to unvaccinated customers. For many such businesses, drive-thrus and curbside pickup were options offered to customers.
On Twitter, many people lambasted Townsend for her shocking rhetoric.
Comparing minor inconveniences caused by willful refusals to follow basic public health mandates during a global pandemic to the atrocities of Nazi Germany—as well as slavery and Jim Crow-era laws—has become a common refrain among Republican officials since the first mask mandates.
When Democratic President Joe Biden announced a requirement employers with more than 100 employees mandate vaccination or weekly testing, the rhetoric of anti-vaxxer victimhood was ready for GOP officials to redeploy.