Minnesota GOP official who posted image linking mask wearing to Nazi Germany resigns

Minnesota GOP official who posted image linking mask wearing to Nazi Germany resigns
© Twitter @JCA_MN | Jewish Community Action

A Minnesota Republican Party official resigned after an image was posted on Facebook comparing mandates requiring residents to wear masks during the coronavirus pandemic to Jewish people being forced to wear Stars of David in Nazi Germany.

Minnesota Republican Party Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan confirmed the county official's resignation in a statement on Tuesday after initially stating that the Wabasha County Republican Party's Facebook page had possibly been hacked. 

“Upon further investigation, the @mngop learned the Wabasha County FB page was not hacked last night, as believed by the Wabasha Chair," Carnahan said in a statement. "The offensive picture was unfortunately posted by a board member who has resigned effective immediately at the party's request."

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Carnahan wrote that the Wabasha County Board and the Minnesota GOP apologize for the “disappointing” post.

“We are saddened by the vitriolic post and hope as we move forward that Republicans and Democrats alike will maintain the highest level of integrity, respect, and sensitivity,” she wrote.

State party communications director Jack Tomczak told CNN that Carnahan asked the local chair to ask the person responsible for the post to resign. That individual has not been publicly named. 

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The since-deleted image was posted after an order from Minnesota Gov. Tim WalzTim WalzGOP Senate candidate says Trump, Republicans will surprise in Minnesota Presidential race tightens in Minnesota as Trump plows resources into state National Guard activated in Minneapolis after homicide suspect's reported suicide MORE (D) went into effect requiring people to wear face coverings at all times when in indoor public settings and businesses.  

The black-and-white image showed a Nazi officer and a man wearing a six-pointed Star of David, the symbol used by the Nazi regime to identify Jewish people in Europe during the Holocaust.

The picture was captioned with the phrase "Just put on the star and quit complaining, it's not that hard" at the top of the image as well as "Just put on the mask and stop complaining."

Jewish Community Action, a Minnesota activist group, condemned the image on Monday.

“Given that Minnesota rabbis recently spoke out in favor of a mask mandate, comparing that mandate to the Holocaust feels especially disgusting,” the group said in a statement. “We ask the @MNGOP to tell Wabasha Republicans to stop using imagery like this. It betrays a total lack of both empathy and education.”

Earlier this month, a Republican state official in Kansas faced criticism for publishing a cartoon in a newspaper he owned that compared Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly’s (D) recent order requiring face masks in public to Jewish people being rounded up during the Holocaust. 

The cartoon was published on the Facebook page of the Anderson County Review, a newspaper owned by Anderson County Republican Party Chairman Dane Hicks. The cartoon features a woman wearing a mask with a Star of David attached to it in front of a line of people entering a cattle car. 

“Lockdown Laura says: Put on your mask ... and step onto the cattle car,” the caption reads.  

Hicks stood by the cartoon despite accusations of publishing anti-Semitic imagery, saying he “intended no slight" to Holocaust survivors or Jewish people. 

“Political editorial cartoons are gross over-caricatures designed to provoke debate and response — that’s why newspapers publish them — fodder for the marketplace of ideas,” he said. “The topic here is the governmental overreach which has been the hallmark of Governor Kelly’s administration.”

A Republican state lawmaker in Alaska also faced backlash in May for making similar comparisons equating coronavirus safety measures at the statehouse to the Nazi treatment of Jewish people.