By Zach Hagadone
If Blanchard Republican Rep. Heather Scott was hungry for headlines, she now has a cornucopia on which to dine. The world has taken notice of her recent remarks comparing Governor Brad Little to Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler and his COVID-19 stay-at-home order to the policies that led to and enabled the Holocaust — which, from 1941-1945 resulted in the genocide of 6 million Jews and a possible 4 million additional victims ranging from Romani people to homosexuals, Catholic dissenters, pro-democracy activitsts and members of the Communist Party.
As Scott said in an interview April 16 with Houston-based podcaster Jess Fields, the governor’s stay-at-home order and closure of “nonessential” businesses is “no different than Nazi Germany, where you had government telling people, ‘You are an essential worker or a nonessential worker,’ and the nonessential workers got put on a train. That’s crazy.”
She went on to claim that the governor has no authority to make such an order, though the Idaho attorney general’s office has affirmed his power to do so. She also said some Idaho residents are referring to the governor as “Little Hitler.”
Regarding the state capital of Boise, she said, “they just don’t think like us down there.”
Asked what she would do if she were governor, Scott said, “Fellow citizens of Idaho, OK, we are in a free society and we have a scary sickness coming and little is known about it and the media is turning it into a hyper — I mean, they’re freaking out about it. It’s hard to get the facts and I am very concerned about every one of you in Idaho and I am going to request that people social distance. I am going to request that if you can work from home, you work from home. … It is up to you for your personal health.”
Referring to what she regards as political pressure and fear mongering, she said Little “is buying right into it.”
“I’m concerned that we’re overreacting,” she said after comparing the coronavirus to the flu. “I would never tell people to stop working or close their businesses.”
Scott went on to characterize COVID-19 as “not an emergency.”
“I would pick my emergencies carefully, and not jump on the bandwagon of an agenda. This is more of an agenda than an emergency … this is over-hyped,” she said. “There are real emergencies, I just — I honestly am not believing this is one of them. … I believe what they have done is extreme action of government.”
He remarks spurred headlines from NBC News to the U.K. Daily Mail and The Times of Israel, the latter which wrote, “Across the US, elected officials suspicious of big government and outraged with orders to close churches, gun stores and other businesses deemed nonessential insist that the public health response is being used as an excuse to trample constitutional rights.”
Quoted by the Spokane-based Spokesman-Review, Temple Beth Shalom Rabbi Tamar Malino said, “Mass murder and genocide is not the same thing as deciding which businesses should essentially stay open and which should stay closed.”
Meanwhile, the New York Daily News pointed out that Scott has drawn her parallel between the Holocaust and coronavirus social distancing guidelines more than once, including in a radio interview with a group in Utah that claims to “expose those conspiring to take away your freedom and educate citizens on the principles of liberty.”
While noting her comments had spurred “outrage,” the New York Post wrote that Scott remains unapologetic about her comments, accusing the media — specifically the Spokesman-Review — of perpetrating a “hit piece” against her over her remarks.
Scott did not respond to multiple requests for comment by the Reader.
Amid continued furor over Scott’s opposition to the stay-at-home order, which state and municipal leaders have suggested may be lifted as early as May 1 — the Bonner County Democratic Party launched an online campaign to “Send Heather Packin’” in the November election.
“Heather Scott has proven time and time again that she is not fit to serve in the Idaho Legislature,” the party wrote on its actblue.com campaign site. “We’re working day and night to beat her in Idaho’s 1st Legislative District.
Scott is running unopposed in the May 19 Republican primary and faces Democrat Gail Bolin in the general election.
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