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Okla. GOP Chief Not Backing Down on Holocaust Reference

John Bennett posted a Star of David on Facebook with 'unvaccinated' written on it
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 2, 2021 9:30 AM CDT
Another GOPer Compares Vax Mandates to Holocaust
In this Nov. 21, 2017, photo, then-state Rep. John Bennett speaks to fellow Republicans during their annual meeting, at the Golden Corral in South Tulsa, Okla.   (Jessie Wardarski/Tulsa World via AP)

(Newser) – The new head of Oklahoma's GOP is comparing vaccine mandates by private companies to the Holocaust, and he's not backing down against the outcry about his remarks. The Oklahoman reports that John Bennett, a former state congressman, first put up a post Friday on the Oklahoma Republican Party's Facebook page that included a photo of a yellow Star of David, which Jews were forced to wear in Nazi Germany, with the word "unvaccinated" written across the front, as well as an apparent identification number and chip. Jewish groups and top Republicans in the state condemned Bennett's comparison of the World War II emblem to vaccine mandates, with Oklahoman GOPers issuing a joint statement calling Bennett's post "irresponsible and wrong."

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"People should have the liberty to choose if they take the vaccine, but we should never compare the unvaccinated to the victims of the Holocaust," reads the statement, issued by Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and US Sens. Jim Inhofe and James Lankford, among others. The criticism didn't seem to faze Bennett, however—he put up a nearly seven-minute Facebook video on Sunday in which he doubled down. "If we don't do something now, it's going to end in the same exact result as we saw when nobody stood up whenever the Jews were told that they had to wear that star," he noted. "Take away the star and add a vaccine passport." The Washington Post notes that Bennett isn't the first conservative to make such a comparison. Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn, and Washington state Rep. Jim Walsh have all made similar claims. (Read more John Bennett stories.)

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