BALTIMORE/WASHINGTON D.C. (WJZ/AP)– A Maryland congressman’s controversial comments are making national headlines and could affect one of the state’s tightest and most contentious races.
Mike Hellgren has more on Roscoe Barlett and what he said about the Holocaust.
Maryland Congressman Roscoe Bartlett apologized after invoking the Holocaust at two Town Hall meetings in reference to the constitutionality of federal student loans and the Patriot Act.
Bartlett was asked during a Town Hall meeting Wednesday in Cumberland if he favored government-issued student loans. Bartlett replied that such loans are unconstitutional.
He said he supports education but that ignoring the Constitution to do something good can be “a very slippery slope.” He cited the Nazi attempt to exterminate the Jews during World War II as an example of something bad.
“There are more people in our, in America today, of German ancestry than any other, including the English,” Bartlett said. “The Holocaust that occurred in Germany, how in the heck could that happen? And when you start down the wrong road, it can be a very slippery slope.”
“How in the heck? I know those people! How could the Holocaust have happened? These are the same German bloodlines that represent the biggest ethnic group in our country today,” he added.
Bartlett later said: “I regrettably used an extreme example as a comparison that was ill-advised and inappropriate. I should never use something as horrific as the Holocaust to make a political point, and I deeply apologize to anyone I may have offended.”
“For somebody to make a slip of the tongue on this who has been very supportive of the Jewish community and certainly supportive of Israel, I take it as what it seems to be– a slip of the tongue,” Art Abrahamson, executive director of the Baltimore Jewish Council, said.
Republican John Carbaugh of Carroll County knows Bartlett personally and doesn’t believe he meant any harm.
“No, no he’s not that type of man,” he said. “He’s been around a while and I think he’ll do a good job.”
Bartlett is a 20-year incumbent. Democrats redrew his Western Maryland district to include part of Montgomery County giving him a tight race with Democratic challenger John Delaney who released new ads on Friday but made no comment on the Holocaust remarks.