By Jesse Byrnes - 01/13/15 02:15 PM EST
Rep. Randy WeberRandy WeberPuerto Rico debt becomes constitutional fight on the right House bill would help veterans get service dogs Louie Gohmert faces his biggest challenge MORE (R-Texas) apologized Tuesday for a tweet where he invoked Adolf Hitler to criticize President Obama's absence from the unity rally in Paris.
“I need to first apologize to all those offended by my tweet. It was not my intention to trivialize the Holocaust nor to compare the President to Adolf Hitler," Weber said in a statement.
"The mention of Hitler was meant to represent the face of evil that still exists in the world today. I now realize that the use of Hitler invokes pain and emotional trauma for those affected by the atrocities of the Holocaust and victims of anti-Semitism and hate," he added.
In the tweet, Weber wrote: "Even Adolph [sic] Hitler thought it more important than Obama to get to Paris. (For all the wrong reasons.) Obama couldn't do it for right reasons."
Weber appeared to initially defend his comment earlier Tuesday, telling The Dallas Morning News that it was intended to “start a discussion” about the president’s foreign policy.
“Hitler reminds us that there’s evil in the world. Obama doesn’t seem to get it. This is about his foreign policy, his actions or lack thereof,” Weber said.
Democrats bashed Weber for the tweet, with Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) spokesman Josh Schwerin calling it "beyond vile and insulting."
“Congressional Republicans like Weber are clearly catering to the most extreme elements — first refusing to condemn Steve Scalise’s inexcusable affiliation with KKK members, and now this,” Schwerin said in a statement.
Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), a former DCCC chairman, tweeted that Weber's comment "desecrates [H]olocaust victims."
The tweet came after several Republican lawmakers and members of the press criticized Obama for not appearing at Sunday's anti-terror rally in Paris, where millions marched in solidarity against terrorists.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest on Monday admitted a mistake was made and said the administration should have sent someone with a "higher profile" than the U.S. ambassador to France.
The march, attended by more than 40 world leaders including from Great Britain, Germany and Israel, capped off a tumultuous week for France after the deadly attack on Charlie Hebdo, a satirical Parisian newspaper previously targeted for publishing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.
In his statement, Weber said the attacks in Paris should "remind us of the evil that still exists" in the world, and said that was what his comparison to Hitler was meant to convey.
"Hitler was the face of evil, perpetrating genocide against 6 million Jews and millions of other victims," he said.
"After World War II, the world made a commitment to ‘Never Again’ allow terror free reign. As demonstrated by the Paris Peace Rally, we must all — Christians, Jews, Muslims, leaders around the world and those willing to fight for freedom — unite and stand strong together against radical extremism in any form," he said.
Weber has served in Congress since 2013, replacing former Rep. Ron Paul in a district southeast of Houston along the Gulf of Mexico.
He attracted national media attention last year when he referred to Obama as the "Kommandant-In-Chef" [sic] on the night of the president's State of the Union address.
Last week, Weber was one of 25 lawmakers who voted against giving Rep. John BoehnerJohn BoehnerCameras go dark during House Democrats' sit-in Rubio flies with Obama on Air Force One to Orlando Juan Williams: The capitulation of Paul Ryan MORE (R-Ohio) another term as Speaker.
— This story was last updated at 3 p.m.