WASHINGTON — A U.S. Republican lawmaker apologized Tuesday for comparing President Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler in a tweet related to the Paris terrorist attacks.
Congressional Democrats and Jewish groups had denounced the comment Rep. Randy Weber sent on his official Twitter account Monday night.
“I need to first apologize to all those offended by my tweet,” the Texas congressman said in a written statement, which he also tweeted. “It was not my intention to trivialize the Holocaust nor to compare the President to Adolf Hitler.”
The tweet on bTXRandy14 read: “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”
It refers to the German leader’s tour of the vanquished city after his troops invaded in World War II, and Obama’s failure to join dozens of world leaders at an anti-terror march through Paris on Sunday.
In demanding an apology, Rep. Steve Israel, a Democrat, called the tweet “vile” and said it “stoops to a new low level by desecrating the victims of the Holocaust to make a political point.”
Robert Singer, chief executive of the World Jewish Congress, said that “putting Mr. Obama on a level with the most evil mass murderer of all times crosses a red line.”
In his statement, Weber said that “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 said.
Asked Tuesday if he had any reaction to Weber’s tweet, White House spokesman Josh Earnest replied, “I don’t.”
The White House has acknowledged that Obama or another high-level representative of the U.S. should have joined the march in unity with the French following attacks that left 17 people dead. The absence was widely noted, and heavily criticized by congressional Republicans.
The Democrats’ campaign organization was quick to denounce Weber’s tweet and to connect the incident to the recent controversy over Republican leader Steve Scalise’s 2002 speech to a white supremacist group. Scalise has said he regrets the speech and didn’t understand the nature of the group.
“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,” said Josh Schwerin, spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Speaker (John) Boehner and Republican leaders need to step forward and condemn Congressman Weber and his toxic brand of politics.”
Weber was one of 25 Republicans who voted against Boehner last week as insufficiently conservative to be speaker. Weber was elected to Congress in 2012.
Weber has a history of inflammatory remarks, and misspellings, on Twitter.
In a tweet last year he called Obama a “Socialistic dictator” and “Kommandant-In-Chef,” presumably meaning “chief.”
Monday’s tweet used “Adolph” instead of “Adolf” for Hitler’s first name.