House Republican compares unions opposing TPP trade pact to Nazi propagandists
The latest lawmaker to compare opponents to Nazis, Rep. David Schweikert, likened unions opposed to a controversial trade deal to Nazi propaganda head Joseph Goebbels as the House approved the president's unilateral power to negotiate major trade pacts.
"Have you ever had one of those moments when you are compelled to come running down here and come up to the mic just because you are so enraged with the duplicity of some of the things you are hearing?" Schweikert said Friday from the House floor before a vote on granting President Barack Obama 'fast-track' authority to handle sweeping trade agreements like the TPP.
Schweikert, an Arizona Republican first elected to the House in 2010, then decided that a Nazi comparison was appropriate.
"Some of the crazy things I'm seeing put out in the media by Big Labor—the willingness to make up stories, to make up facts—Goebbels would be very proud of them," he said, according to The Washington Post.
"Be careful that we're not getting conned by made-up stories," Schweikert added before wrapping up his comments.
Unions, among many others, have lined up to oppose the TPP based on concerns over a number of issues, including currency manipulation, environmental protections, internet privacy, transparency, and local control. The economic benefits of the deal will go to corporations, not workers in any of the participating nations, opponents say.
The deal has also been criticized for lack of transparency, as the contents of the TPP have been kept in strict secrecy. Leaked drafts of TPP negotiations have suggested that corporations would be allowed to sue governments in private courts over profits lost due to regulation.
Schweikert is certainly not the first member of Congress to employ Nazi comparisons amid political rhetoric. In April, a Texas state lawmaker compared gays to Nazis. In January, Republican US Rep. Randy Weber used a Hitler comparison to criticize Obama’s absence at the 'Unity March' in Paris following the attack at the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Last year, current Republican presidential nominee Dr. Ben Carson said that the US is "very much like Nazi Germany," and a Tennessee state senator likened Democrats enthused about signups for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act to Nazis sending Jews to concentration camps.
Media Matters has noted that conservative media has routinely referenced the Third Reich or Adolf Hitler when speaking of Obama, especially in regard to the president's signature piece of legislation, the Affordable Care Act, known colloquially as Obamacare.