Two more Republicans denounce Bailey’s Holocaust comments

Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 3:52 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD (WGEM) - Sen. Darren Bailey continues to face backlash for his 2017 comments about the Holocaust and abortion. Rep. Tom Demmer (R-Dixon), the Republican candidate for Treasurer, became one of the latest GOP leaders to denounce Bailey’s comments during an unrelated press conference on Tuesday.

Bailey once said the Holocaust doesn’t compare to abortion deaths. The downstate Republican was speaking to supporters of his campaign for state representative about former Republican governor Bruce Rauner signing House Bill 40 into law solidifying a woman’s right to choose abortion in Illinois.

“The attempted extermination of the Jews of World War II doesn’t even compare on a shadow of the life that has been lost with abortion,” Bailey told supporters.

Demmer said he disagrees with Bailey’s comments and doesn’t think the Holocaust should be used as a comparison with anything. Although, Demmer also noted that Democrats spent millions of dollars in attack ads against Aurora mayor Richard Irvin to support Bailey’s campaign for governor.

“I think it’s a little hypocritical and disingenuous for them to now be feigning this outrage and this disgust over a candidate that they were supporting during the primary,” Demmer said.

Demmer also said Democrats across the country are playing a game right now by lifting up candidates like Bailey and putting politics over policy and the people. However, Demmer told reporters that he is supporting Bailey in the November election because he believes Gov. JB Pritzker shouldn’t be re-elected.

Rep. Tim Butler also stressed Demmer’s point that no one should compare the Holocaust to anything.

“There’s no place for talking about the Holocaust in that kind of setting,” Butler said. “I think people really have to watch their words on things like this.”

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin and Rep. Steve Reick criticized Bailey for making the comments last week.

Butler said Bailey had apologized for his comments several times since the Facebook Live video was uncovered. Yet, Bailey doubled down on his comments over the weekend when he told a WSPY radio host that the Jewish community told him he was right.

“The Jewish community themselves have told me that I’m right,” Bailey said. “All the people at the Chabads that we met with and the Jewish rabbis they said, ‘No, you’re actually right.’”

Forward, the Jewish nonprofit news organization that broke the story about the 2017 Facebook Live, asked several Jewish organizations in Illinois to respond. Their response shows Bailey likely made up a situation when rabbis told him he was right.

“We don’t know who he met with and his comments do not reflect our position,” Rabbi Avraham Kagan, the director of government affairs for Lubavitch Chabad of Illinois, told Forward reporter Jacob Kornbluh.

Anti-Defamation League Midwest Director David Goldenberg told the Capitol Bureau last week that the Holocaust and abortion are not the same. Goldenberg stressed these types of comments have no place in public discourse.

“It’s shameful, it’s unacceptable,” Goldenberg said. “And it does an incredible disservice to the millions of Jews and others who were killed at the hands of the Nazis.”

Still, Butler and Demmer said Bailey will be a good governor for Illinois.

“I think Sen. Bailey is going to run a very strong campaign. He’s got broad support obviously across the Republican spectrum in Illinois,” Butler said. “You’ve seen Leader Durkin, Leader McConchie...Don Tracy, our state party chair, all have meetings with him. Our whole goal is defeating Mike Frerichs, defeating JB Pritzker, and in the House getting 60 seats so Jim Durkin can hold the gavel.”

Bailey refused to take questions from reporters during a press conference in Chicago Monday morning. Bailey’s spokesperson Joe DeBose said the candidate will be available to answer questions during the Illinois State Fair.

Rep. Bob Morgan (D-Deerfield) responded to Bailey’s latest comments with a tweet Tuesday morning.

“Hi! Member of the Jewish community here,” Morgan tweeted. “No, Darren Bailey, you’re not “right” to belittle the deaths of 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust, including my great-grandparents. More clear for you?”

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