(JTA) — A Republican politician in Staten Island has apologized for yelling “Heil Hitler” at a protest last month, apparently comparing coronavirus restrictions to the fascist decrees of the Nazis.
Leticia Remauro also resigned from the Staten Island Hebrew Public Charter School’s board of trustees, according to SILive, a local news site.
A Republican consultant running for borough president, Remauro was protesting the closing of a bar last month for violating coronavirus restrictions, according to the New York Daily News.
On camera, after saying small businesses should be opened, Remauro appeared to call for law enforcement officers to resist orders to close down private establishments.
“[They] are only doing their jobs, but not for nothing, sometimes you gotta say ‘Heil Hitler, not a good idea to send me here,’” Remauro said. “‘We’re not going to do it.’”
She later apologized on Twitter, saying her words were a “VERY BAD ANALOGY likening the actions of the de Blasio & Cuomo against small businesses to those of a Nazi dictator.”
“I used angry and hurtful words that caused people pain,” she said. ”I apologize to my Jewish family members and friends for my lapse in judgement.”
Remauro told the Daily News that she meant to say “Mein Fuehrer,” which means “my leader.” The implication, she said, was that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio were acting like fascists.
She also defended the intent of her statement.
“I apologize profusely that the words I used in trying to create an analogy were offensive,” she told the Daily News. “But when you think about in Nazi Germany, in Cuba, with Mussolini it starts the same way. They come for your business, your religion, your property and then for you.”
Jewish groups and Holocaust museums regularly complain about inappropriate Holocaust analogies, which have become frequent in the wake of coronavirus lockdowns, social media crackdowns on hate speech and last week’s storming of the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.
In October, President Trump shared a tweet comparing de Blasio to Hitler following a city crackdown on Orthodox Jewish gatherings in Brooklyn.
Speaking Wednesday in Washington, D.C., ahead of the insurrection at the Capitol, U.S. Rep. Mary Miller, an Illinois Republican, said “Hitler was right on one thing”: the importance of reaching out to the youth. She later apologized.
Over the weekend, former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger compared the mob attack on the U.S. Capitol to Kristallnacht, the 1939 pogrom often considered the start of the Holocaust.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) also swapped charges of misusing the Holocaust during a heated Twitter exchange over the weekend. The subject was President-elect Joe Biden’s use of the term “big lie” — which he attributed to Nazi propaganda minister Hermann Goebbels — to describe President Trump’s baseless accusations about the 2020 elections. Cruz said Biden shouldn’t be calling his opponents “literal Nazis.” Ocasio-Cortez noted that some of the Capitol rioters wore anti-Semitic garb.