Georgia U.S. Sen. David Perdue is apologizing after being reprimanded for comparing Democrats’ anti-Brett Kavanaugh tactics to those used by the Nazi paramilitary forces that helped prompt Adolf Hitler’s rise to power.
A spokeswoman said the junior Republican “sincerely apologizes” and that he “certainly did not mean to offend anyone.”
“He regrets using this historical reference, while attempting to show how heated and out of hand things have become in Washington,” she said.
Perdue’s comments came during a fiery floor speech on Wednesday in which he excoriated his Democratic colleagues for inciting anti-Kavanaugh protesters he said were overzealous. Earlier this week, Perdue and his wife were cornered by liberal activists in a D.C.-area airport , a contentious encounter that was shared widely on social media.
Without naming specific lawmakers, Perdue cited comments from Democrats such as U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., that have stirred up protesters. Waters in June urged supporters to confront Cabinet members and “tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.”
“This is America, but these are the tactics of the Brownshirts in Germany in the 1930s,” Perdue said, using a common nickname for the Sturmabteilung, the guerrilla force that guarded party meetings and violently harassed political opponents. “This is outrageous and unacceptable behavior for anyone, but much less a member of this body.”
Perdue was quickly reprimanded by the American Jewish Committee. Dov Wilker, the head of the organization’s Atlanta branch, said using Nazi analogies is “is simply wrong and inexcusable.”
“In the midst of a very heated, highly partisan political atmosphere, one can argue a certain point of view without reflexively resorting to a period in Germany that thankfully does not exist in our country,” he said.
Former Democratic congressional candidate Jon Ossoff, who is Jewish, demanded a public apology from Perdue on Twitter and said the first-term Republican was guilty of “empowering” Trump administration officials.
“It is their extremism that recalls the 1930s -- especially for those of us whose families were murdered by right-wing thugs,” he said.
On Capitol Hill, Perdue frequently discusses his support for Israel.
“My commitment to Israel is not equivocal, ‘to be determined’, or for sale,” Perdue states on his campaign site.