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Politics

Oklahoma GOP Chairman Doubles Down On Comparing Vaccine Mandates To The Holocaust

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John Bennett

Oklahoma Republicans are talking about the removal of the head of the state party.

An unidentified member of the state GOP tells The Norman Transcript they are unhappy with Chairman John Bennett’s leadership after he equated the treatment of unvaccinated people to that of Jews in the Holocaust.

As of Monday morning, the offending post was still on the Oklahoma Republican Party's Facebook page, with a link to donate to the organization.

Governor Kevin Stitt, Lieutenant Governor Matt Pinnell and the leaders of the House and Senate blasted Bennett on Saturday for the Facebook post, but Bennett doubled down with a video released on Sunday.

"This is Communist. This is totalitarian," said Bennett. "And, if we don’t do something now, it’s going to end in the same, exact result as when we saw when nobody stood up whenever the Jews were told they had to wear that star."

To be clear, the state is not forcing Oklahomans to get the vaccine, and Stitt has said he will not mandate COVID-19 vaccines.

Bennett's comments have drawn statements from Jewish groups, including the Jewish Federation of Greater Oklahoma City.

"Holocaust analogies are never appropriate for anything other than referencing the Holocaust. These analogies always have a hurtful impact to Holocaust survivors, families of those murdered in the Holocaust, loved ones who risked their lives to save Jews, and loved ones of liberators," the organization said.

State Rep. Josh West (R-Grove) took to Facebook to call Bennett "a joke" and criticized calls for a special session to prevent private businesses from enacting workplace health requirements.

"They love capitalism, liberty and small government…until they don’t and then they want big brother government to step in," West said. "They are hypocrites to the fullest extent."

During the video, Bennett also referred to the more than 500 individuals arrested for storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 as "patriots." In the same breath, he claimed Antifa and Black Lives Matter protestors "caused millions of dollars in damage and physically assaulted many people" and "not one of them has been prosecuted."

In fact, as of last September, more than 13,000 people had been arrested during racial justice protests in 2020, and more than 300 people across 29 states had been charged with federal crimes.

Apart from the comments, Republicans are complaining of Bennett’s mismanagement of funds, as the state GOP's Political Action Committee currently has only $810 in the bank.

To remove a sitting chairman from office, the vice-chair or one of two national committee members from the state must call for a vote and give him a 10-day notice.

The former state lawmaker has a history of making false and bigoted statements. He once likened Islam to a cancer and handed out questionnaires to Muslims asking if they beat their wives.

In 2016, Bennett posted a photo of Hillary Clinton on Facebook with a caption suggesting that she be executed by firing squad. Bennett later claimed he was being sarcastic.

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