Advance Notice: Briefs

Dems blast Rep. Hornberger’s Holocaust-themed anti-Fauci post

By: - May 2, 2020 11:49 am

President Donald J. Trump listens as Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force delivers remarks at a coronavirus (COVID-19) update briefing Saturday, April 4, 2020, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. | Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks via Flickr Public Domain

State Rep. Pamela Hornberger (R-Chesterfield) came under fire this week for raising the Holocaust in a Facebook post about Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the White House Coronavirus Task Force

“Fauci wants vaccination cards. Will they look like this?” Hornberger wrote and posted a yellow Star of David, which Jews had to wear during the Holocaust that killed 6 million.

Rep. Pamela Hornberger Facebook post

Fauci has been the subject of some right-wing conspiracy theories and had to obtain additional security last month after threats.

Several Democratic lawmakers have condemned the lawmaker for the Facebook post. 

“#HolocaustRemembranceDay was last week. Each successive Remembrance Day is more important than years prior as time takes us away from the Holocaust,” state Sen. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) tweeted Thursday. “It’s so we know why we must condemn those who hijack symbols of Nazi horrors for cheap political points. Shame on Rep. Hornberger.”

Hornberger didn’t return a request for comment, but she told the Jewish Journal that the post was “actually from a friend who is Jewish” and issued a statement that she “reached out to the Republican Jewish [Coalition] to offer clarification and my sincere apologies.” She said she’s deleted the post.

There also were posters with swastikas and Confederate flags at two right-wing rallies held at the Capitol last month. Another lawmaker, state Sen. Dale Zorn (R-Ida), wore a Confederate flag-patterned mask to session last week. Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, state Sen. Sylvia Santana (D-Detroit) and Sen. Erika Geiss (D-Taylor) have called for Zorn to be censured

Conservative protest at Michigan’s Capitol against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, April 15, 2020 | Anna Liz Nichols

If you’re wondering what sort of legislator would choose to fight the Governor during a public health crisis, it’s the same sort of legislator who would wear a Confederate logo or, in this latest example, insinuate that our public response is comparable to the Holocaust,” state Sen. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) tweeted this week.

The liberal group Progress Michigan is calling on House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) to censure Hornberger. 

“She has disgraced her office by using the millions of people who were murdered during the Holocaust as a shameful political punchline. The lives of those who were murdered should not be used to attack public health officials who are doing what they can to keep people safe,”  aid Lonnie Scott, executive director at Progress Michigan.

Scott also also called on Chatfield, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) and the Republican caucus “to act immediately to denounce this and hold Hornberger and Zorn accountable without delay.

“This type of toxic rhetoric and relentless racism we have seen at our Capitol, including from a sitting Senator, has become rampant during the COVID-19 crisis and it needs to end,” Scott added. “As a state, we need to be standing together, but Rep. Hornberger’s post and Sen. Zorn’s confederate flag mask only further divide us.”

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Allison R. Donahue
Allison R. Donahue

Allison R. Donahue is a former Michigan Advance reporter who covered education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8.