Oklahoma State GOP Chair faces backlash after defending vaccine Holocaust analogy

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – “Take away the star and add a vaccine passport,“ said John Bennett.

The State GOP Chairman is doubling down on his social media post from Friday with a video over the weekend equating vaccine passports to tactics used in Nazi Germany leading up to the Holocaust.

Religious and political leaders are speaking out against the comments and some are calling for the GOP chair to be replaced.

“To use an analogy about the largest genocide of the 20th century and to relate it to an issue that is about saving lives in 2021 – regardless how you feel about vaccines or masks or anything else – it’s inappropriate, it’s insulting and it’s horrific,” said Roberta Clark, Head of the Jewish Federation of Greater OKC.

Still, John Bennett backs up his use of the Star of David analogy concerning vaccine mandates and passports.

“They give them a star to put on them. They couldn’t go to the grocery store. They couldn’t go out in public. They couldn’t do anything without having that star,” said State GOP Chair John Bennett, in a video he released over the weekend. “If we don’t do something now, it’s going to end in the same exact result as we saw when nobody stood up whenever the Jews were told that they had to wear that star.”

Jewish leaders saying it’s never appropriate to use Holocaust analogies for anything.

“It fuels the fire for those who are already anti-Semitic or already think that way and it empowers them to spew their hatred because they feel like someone agrees with them,” said Clark.

On Friday, multiple leading Oklahoma Republicans issued a joint statement. The Oklahoma Speaker of the House’s Office and the Governor’s Office telling KFOR they stand behind the statement, saying,

“It is irresponsible and wrong to compare an effective vaccine—developed by President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed—to the horrors of the Holocaust. People should have the liberty to choose if they take the vaccine, but we should never compare the unvaccinated to the victims of the Holocaust.”

Bennett taking aim at fellow Republicans for that statement in his video.

“The bigger problem is whenever people speak out and speak the truth… My own fellow Republicans came out against me,” said Bennett.

Some in the Republican Party say it’s time for a change at the State GOP office.

“I thought the video was ridiculous,” said Chad Alexander, former head of the State GOP.

The political talk show host and a former head of the State Republican Party says Bennett is acting like a dictator and driving away GOP donors with his radical rhetoric.

“I think the majority of the State Committee needs to do their jobs and put in a state party chairman that can unify the Republican party,” said Alexander.

Alexander says it’s up to the three people directly under Bennett to call a special election.

News 4 reached out to see if a move is being considered. They say they are currently getting feedback from their members and considering what to do about the situation.

As for John Bennett, our calls and emails for comment have not been returned.

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