Republican Rep. Brenda Barton issued a statement today saying she never compared President Obama to Adolf Hitler. She said her original Facebook reference to “De Fuhrer” referred to the general German term for “leader,” and not the actual official title of Hitler.
Barton took issue with a report from the Arizona Capitol Times that quoted her original post, as well as follow-up comments in which she defended making the comparison. In her statement today, Barton tried to distance herself from the original comment.
“What I did suggest, rather directly, was that the National Park Service enforcement personnel (referring to them as ‘thugs’ for their reported behavior) were simply following the orders of ‘their leader’ – and I used the German phrase for emphasis, Der Fuhrer. I am referencing the Presidents (sic) behavior as indicated by his actions,” Barton wrote in the statement.
But in a 15 minute telephone interview with the Capitol Times on Oct. 7, Barton repeatedly and directly referenced Hitler and compared his style of governance to that of Obama.
“Comparing him to Adolf Hitler is controversial?… No, I don’t think that’s controversial at all. My point is, and I have said it already, is the imperialistic style of governance, making life difficult for the citizens and residents of America and Arizona, causing immense grief and trouble to make them suffer,” she said.
In her statement today, Barton described Obama’s abuse of authority and said she believes he was “behaving as a tyrant” for unilaterally changing the Affordable Care Act several times through waivers and exemptions. She also claimed Obama had arrested veterans for visiting war memorials, among other actions.
“Actions speak louder than words; President Obama’s actions are what I have to base my observations of ‘tyrannical authority’ on,” she wrote in the statement.
In the Oct. 7 interview, Barton emphasized she made the comparison because Obama has dictated beyond his authority and abused his power, not because he is a mass murderer.
“I’m not saying they’re going to start shooting people, that’s not what I’m saying – please don’t go there – I’m talking about how it is functioning, how it is making decisions, how this federal entity is working and functioning against the states,” she said.
When asked if Obama’s actions were an abuse of power on the level of Nazi Germany, Barton responded: “Like I said, it got your attention to run the comparison. You have historical documents, you can run a comparison between the government during the time of Germany. Well, don’t forget Italy, and don’t forget Pol Pot (the infamous dictator in Cambodia). We have a lot of examples of how a federalized nationalized government begins to take a grip on their citizens. We have to say no… I think we are on a slippery slope of losing a constitutional republic.”
The original Capitol Times story incorrectly paraphrased Barton as referring to the United States as a “constitutional democracy” instead of a constitutional republic.
Barton did not return a follow up call for comment.