In Harris County, Texas—the third-most populous county in the nation—the Republican party has come under fire for a particularly politically charged International Holocaust Remembrance Day post.
“Leftism kills,” the since-deleted Facebook post published on Sunday read, according to the Houston Chronicle. “In memory of the 6 million Jews lost to Nazi hatred in the name of National Socialism. We will never forget.”
While the Nazis were, undeniably, a fascist political party, many conservatives have in recent years tried to shunt the blame over to the left, fixating on the “socialist” element of the party’s name. Right-wing commentator Dinesh D’Souza (who once retweeted a post that contained the hashtag #burntheJews) even wrote a book and made a movie falsely connecting the Democratic party to Naziism (as conservative pundit Jonah Goldberg had done several years before, writing that fascism was “a phenomenon of the left”). Others have attempted to draw parallels between abortion rights and the Nazi genocide of six million Jews.
Rather than apologize in the face of criticism and outrage they immediately faced, the Harris County Republicans quietly removed “leftism kills” from the post and repeated their talking point: “The Nazis identified themselves as National Socialists,” a spokesman told the Chronicle. “The name of the party was the National Socialist Workers party.”
The post was then taken down altogether, but the party then cast itself as the victim of left-wing hatred after reporting that its headquarters had received a death threat. According to a statement the group published to Facebook on Monday, the call “referenced a social media post whose truth was ironically evidenced by the death threat itself.”
The statement repeated the assertion that “Socialism does indeed kill” and defended the original post. “While the initial wording included the inartful phrase ‘leftism kills,’ it rightly sought to be a reminder of the dangers of Socialism,” Paul Simpson, the county’s chair said in the statement. “All Americans should be on guard against the dangers of ideologies that demean the value of individual human lives to the collective. That includes socialism in all forms, whether 20th-century German National Socialism or today’s glossed-over socialism that is condoned and even promoted by those who should know better. … We should never forget the Holocaust and the evil ideologies that caused it.”