A Texas Republican congressman apologized Tuesday for comparing President Obama's absence at this weekend's rally in Paris to Adolf Hitler.
Rep. Randy Weber tweeted on Monday night that "Even Adolph [sic] Hitler thought it more important than Obama to go to Paris." (For the record, Hitler never participated in a anti-terrorist march in Paris; the motive for his trip there in 1940 was quite different.)
Less than 24 hours later, Weber apologized, claiming "it was not my intention to trivialize the Holocaust nor to compare the President to Adolf Hitler." The congressman suggested he was unaware that referencing Hitler "invokes pain and emotional trauma" for many people.
"The mention of Hitler was meant to represent the face of evil that still exists in the world today," he said in a statement. "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."
Weber's original tweet was deleted from his account Tuesday afternoon.
Obama faced heavy criticism for missing the anti-terrorism rally in Paris, which was attended by world leaders from several dozen nations, including the United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, Italy Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Ambassador to France Jane Hartley represented the U.S. at the march.
The White House apologized on Monday afternoon for not sending a higher-ranked envoy to the event. That move blunted criticism from the media and Republican officials, but not Weber. He tweeted his comparison to Hitler's 1940 march through Paris after Nazi troops invaded the city in World War II hours after the White House's apology.
Democrats condemned Weber's tweet, tying it to House Majority Whip Steve Scalise's 2002 speech to a white supremacist group. Scalise has said he was unaware he was speaking to such a group and condemned their beliefs.
“Congressman Randy Weber’s outrageous comparison is beyond vile and insulting," said Josh Schwerin, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. "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. Speaker Boehner and Republican leaders need to step forward and condemn Congressman Weber and his toxic brand of politics.”
Despite his acknowledgement that references to Hitler can be painful, Weber continued to invoke the Nazi leader and the Holocaust throughout his statement of apology.
"The terrorist attacks in Paris should remind us of the evil that still exists," he said in a statement. "Hitler was the face of evil, perpetrating genocide against six million Jews and millions of other victims. Today, we are facing the evil of Islamic extremists who are attempting to instill fear and murdering the lives of innocent people from Paris to Nigeria to Jerusalem and all over the world. The President’s actions or lack thereof is my point of contention. Islamic extremists have shown they are not going away, and instead are hungry for more blood."
Using misspelled insults against Obama isn't new behavior for Weber. During last year's State of the Union, Weber tweeted that the president was a "socialistic dictator" and called him the "Kommandant-In-Chef [sic]."
Jordan Fabian is Fusion's politics editor, writing about campaigns, Congress, immigration, and more. When he's not working, you can find him at the ice rink or at home with his wife, Melissa.