Rep. Thomas MassieThomas Harold MassieEighth House GOP lawmaker issued 0 fine for not wearing mask on House floor Reps. Greene, Roy fined for not wearing masks on House floor Sixth House GOP lawmaker issued K metal detector fine MORE (R-Ky.) deleted a tweet Wednesday that compared vaccine passports to the identification numbers Nazis forcibly tattooed on concentration camp prisoners during the Holocaust.
Screenshots of Massie’s tweet circulated on Twitter shortly after its deletion and sparked backlash. The original tweet shows a black-and-white photo of a clenched fist with numbers tattooed along its wrist. It was accompanied with the caption: “If you have to carry a card on you to gain access to a restaurant, venue of an event in your country … that’s no longer a free country.”
According to a screenshot shared by CNN reporter Andrew Kaczynski, Massie posted the tweet at 3 p.m. and took it down by 11 p.m. that same day.
Roughly 400,000 Holocaust victims and survivors at the Auschwitz concentration camp complex received tattooed serial numbers, which were used as a means of identification and dehumanization.
Massie’s caption refers to vaccine passports currently under debate in Kentucky and across the country. Kentucky does not require residents to show paper documents that indicate they have been vaccinated against COVID-19, but private workplaces and venues may require proof of vaccination.
Andrew Zirkle, who identified himself on Twitter as an intern for Massie's office, said Thursday that he quit his internship in response to Massie’s tweet.
“The tweet that Congressman Massie posted last night, in which he compared vaccine passports to the Holocaust, was insensitive to not only survivors of the Holocaust, but the millions who perished as a result. The anti-semitic nature of the post is beyond apology, and as a result, I cannot in good conscience continue at my current position,” Zirkle said in a statement posted to Twitter.
Massie’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.
The Kentucky Democratic Party issued a statement criticizing Massie’s tweet and calling it an embarrassment to the commonwealth.
“Denigrating the victims and survivors of the Holocaust just to score cheap political points is ignorant, shameful, and has no place in our politics or American society. Trying to quietly delete his tweet without apologizing for his ignorant and offensive behavior? That’s rock bottom pathetic,” Party Chair Colmon Elridge said.
Massie is not the first GOP lawmaker to spark backlash for comparing aspects of the coronavirus pandemic to the Holocaust.
In May, Rep. Marjorie Taylor GreeneMarjorie Taylor GreeneGOP efforts to downplay danger of Capitol riot increase The Memo: What now for anti-Trump Republicans? Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene says she's meeting with Trump 'soon' in Florida MORE (R-Ga.) made several comments likening COVID-19 safety protocols to the Holocaust.
Greene said the House’s requirement of mask-wearing on the floor was reminiscent of the Holocaust. Days after, she tweeted that a grocery store’s policy of identifying vaccinated employees with logos on their name badges was “just like the Nazi's forced Jewish people to wear a gold star.
She later apologized for the remarks.