Advance Notice: Briefs

Democratic Jewish Caucus slams Shirkey for speaking at rally with anti-Semitic themes

By: - May 19, 2020 4:11 pm

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, Sept. 19, 2019 | Nick Manes

State Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) was criticized by the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus after he spoke at what was billed as the “Michigan Patriots Rally” held at Rosa Parks Circle in Grand Rapids Monday night.

A woman dressed like Gov. Gretchen Whitmer with a penciled-on Adolf Hitler mustache was among the estimated 350 people at the rally, according to MLive.

The Democratic Jewish Caucus said Tuesday that Shirkey must condemn any and all usage of Holocaust imagery in describing state officials’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including comparisons of Whitmer to Adolf Hitler.

Democratic Jewish Caucus Chair Noah Arbit said Shirkey’s presence at such “serves to further legitimize the indecent, hateful and threatening speech displayed there.”

This isn’t the first time Whitmer has been compared to Hitler. On April 30, people protesting the stay-home order showed up at the Capitol and began chanting “Heil Whitmer.” At an April 15 rally, people were seen toting flags and signs featuring threatening language, swastikas and Confederate flags.

Whitmer also isn’t the only official targeted. State Rep. Pamela Hornberger (R-Chesterfield Twp.) last month posted on Facebook that White House health adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci “wants vaccination cards. Will they look like this?” She posted a yellow Star of David, which Jews had to wear during the Holocaust that killed 6 million.

During a recent news conference, Whitmer said she’s “increasingly concerned” about the violent nature of the extreme comments that are being made around these organizations and groups that come together during protests of her stay home order.

Spokespeople for Shirkey and Whitmer did not respond to the Advance’s request for comment.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Madeline Ciak
Madeline Ciak

Madeline Ciak is a former Michigan Advance reporter. She’s a University of Michigan-Flint graduate and previously worked as a digital media manager at NBC25/FOX66 in Flint and a weekend producer at ABC12.