The CEO of the Republican Jewish Coalition blasted an “offensive” tweet from the Michigan State Republican Party on Wednesday that used a photo from the Holocaust to criticize gun safety efforts.
“This tweet by @MIGOP is absolutely inappropriate and offensive and should be taken down immediately,” Republican Jewish Coalition CEO Matt Brooks wrote on Twitter.
The Michigan Republican Party’s official Twitter account posted a photo Wednesday morning with the text “before they collected all these wedding rings… they collected all the guns.” The image in the post is a photo from 1945 of wedding rings removed from victims of the Holocaust, according to the National Archives.
“#History has shown us that the first thing a government does when it wants total control over its people is to disarm them. President Reagan once stated, “if we lose #freedom here, there is nowhere else to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth.” #2A #GOP” the tweet reads.
The Michigan Republican Party posted the same photo on its official Facebook page with a longer caption, which warned of having a “disarmed population” and mentioned “a corrupt and tyrannical government.” It zeroed in on extreme risk protection orders — commonly referred to as red flag laws — which the state Senate approved last week as part of a gun safety package.
“History has shown us that the first thing a government does when it wants total control over its people is to disarm them. No good can come from a disarmed population, and our constitutional rights to defend ourselves against a corrupt and tyrannical government are now being violated by unconstitutional red flag laws,” the post reads.
“The second amendment is one of the main safeguards we have to keep the government from becoming weaponized against us. We must always stand for the second amendment and never forget what President Reagan once stated, ‘if we lose freedom here, there is nowhere else to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth,’” it added.
Congressional lawmakers denounced the Michigan GOP’s Twitter post on Wednesday, calling it “hateful” and “dangerous.”
“Comparing gun safety measures to the mass extermination of 6 million people is hateful & ignorant, and it comes from party leaders who are out of ideas & catering to the fringe of the fringe. Delete it, apologize, and figure out what kind of party you want to be,” Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), who is running for Senate, wrote on Twitter.
“This ignorance is dangerous,” Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-Mass.), who is Jewish, wrote on Twitter. “@MIGOP needs to take this down, apologize to the Jewish community – and read some of our history.”
Some Republicans also joined Brooks in condemning the post.
“Take this down, apologize immediately, fire the person/people who created and approved of this, then never do this again,” tweeted GOP strategist Doug Heye. Former Rep. David Trott (R-Mich.) told The Detroit News that the post was “disturbing.”
“The child running the @migop Twitter account should pull this tweet down. It trivializes the Holocaust to advance a political issue. It is offensive and idiotic,” said Ron Nehring, who previously served as chair of the California GOP and spokesman for Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) presidential campaign.
The Jewish Democratic Council of America called the Michigan GOP’s post “deeply offensive,” arguing that it “is another example of how the Republican Party is normalizing Holocaust distortion for political gain.”
“Their irresponsible rhetoric proves that they are not fit to govern and cannot be counted on to ensure our safety,” the group added on Twitter.
Michigan GOP Chairwoman Kristina Karamo defended the post Wednesday afternoon, writing that the party “stands by our statement.”
“Government abuse of citizens has not only happened in world history, but American history,” she wrote in a statement on Twitter. “We will not be silent as the Democratic Party, the party who fought to enslave Black Americans, and currently fights to murder unborn children, attempt to disarm us.”
“Our 2nd Amendment was put in place to protect us from aspiring tyrants,” she added.
In a separate statement, the Michigan GOP’s official Twitter account said its post was a “legitimate comparison to the troubling history of governments that have disarmed their citizens.”
Karamo, a controversial election denier, was elected to lead Michigan’s Republican Party last month after she lost a race to serve as Michigan secretary of state in 2022 — a defeat she refused to concede.
Michigan state Sen. Jeremy Moss (D) slammed Karamo when denouncing the Michigan GOP’s post.
“There is no depth to the pit from which Kristina Karamo operates @MIGOP,” Moss wrote on Twitter. “Haven’t the victims of the Holocaust suffered enough than to be shamefully exploited in death by this vile post? Anti-semitism thrives when these grotesque distortions of history diminish it.”
The controversial Twitter post came days after the Michigan state Senate passed a package of 11 gun-related measures that seeks to, in part, expand background check requirements, allow red flag laws and implement safe storage laws for firearms that can be accessed by a minor.
Senate passage came roughly one month after a gunman opened fire at Michigan State University, killing three students.