The uproar began when an Alaska lawmaker emailed all 39 of his statehouse colleagues to compare health screening stickers to the badges that singled out Jews during the Holocaust.
"If my sticker falls off, do I get a new one or do I get public shaming too?" Rep. Ben Carpenter, a Republican, wrote Friday, sharing his dismay at a new requirement for legislators returning to the Alaska Capitol amid the coronavirus pandemic. "Are the stickers available as a yellow Star of David?"
The backlash was swift: "Ben, this is disgusting," one Jewish representative wrote back in emails first posted by the Alaska Landmine. "I don't think a tag that we're cleared to enter the building is akin to being shipped to a concentration camp," responded another. The leader of the state House's Republican delegation said Carpenter should apologize.
"Can you or I - can we even say it is totally out of the realm of possibility that covid-19 patients will be rounded up and taken somewhere?" he said later in an interview with the Anchorage Daily News, arguing that officials are overreacting to the coronavirus with limits on people's liberty. "People want to say Hitler was a white supremacist. No. He was fearful of the Jewish nation, and that drove him into some unfathomable atrocities."