Samuel Wurzelbacher, who gained fame in 2008 as “Joe the Plumber” who posed a question to Barack Obama -- and is now running for Congress in Ohio -- is garnering unwanted attention for suggesting that Nazi gun control laws contributed to the Holocaust.
“In 1939, Germany established gun control,” a narrator says in a campaign video posted Monday for Wurzelbacher, who is seen shooting fruit and vegetables with a shotgun. “From 1939 to 1945, 6 million Jews and 7 million others, unable to defend themselves, were exterminated.”
Wurzelbacher, a Republican, immediately came under attack from the National Jewish Democratic Council. David Harris, its president and CEO, said in a statement: “It is not acceptable ever to invoke the Holocaust to make a political point. To say it does a disservice to those who perished and the memory of the Holocaust is putting it mildly.”
In the video, the narrator said also that in 1911 Turkey established gun control and that from 1915 to 1917 “1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were exterminated.” The video ends with Wurzelbacher turning to the camera and saying, “I love America.”
Harris demanded that Wurzelbacher take down the video from You Tube which is titled “I Love America -- Joe on the 2nd Amendment.” By Thursday afternoon, it had been viewed more than 36,500 times.
Ohio Democratic Chairman Chris Redfern was quoted as labeling the video “incredibly offensive.”
But Wurzelbacher not only refused to take down the video but also actually defended it.
“No one in the video said gun control CAUSED genocide,” he Tweeted. “Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf that his agenda would not be possible unless the people were disarmed.”
And he told ABC News that he was simply stating historical fact.
“I'm not saying gun control was causing the Holocaust in any shape or form and the people who are saying that are motivated by petty partisan politics," he said. “I believe ultimately the left -- they hate history.”
By Wednesday, he was telling the Toledo Blade that he “wasn't talking about the Holocaust” in the video and blamed the media for distorting everything.
“All I said was gun control was implemented, and then governments proceeded to violate human rights. Nowhere did I mention the Holocaust or was I even talking about it.”
Wurzelbacher gained fame in 2008 when then Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain of Arizona cited him as someone whose tax bill for his plumbing business would increase under Barack Obama’s tax proposal.
His campaign spokesman, Phil Christofanelli, was quoted by the paper as saying: “The argument is that gun control created the environment in which it was considerably easier for Nazis and other tyrannical governments to engage in human rights abuses. So I believe the point of the video was to highlight a number of human rights abuses that were facilitated by gun control. Joe did not say the Holocaust was caused by gun control."
“I think it's a big difference to say gun control caused the Holocaust, which is not our position,” he added. “His position is policies like gun control are implemented by tyrannical governments.”
The Toledo Blade said Steve Fought, campaign manager and spokesman for Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo), Wurzelbacher's Democratic opponent, suggested Wurzelbacher “go back and watch his own stupid video. He sounds like he is a stranger to personal responsibility, but he very clearly talked about what he called genocide in Armenia and the Holocaust.”
Related & Recommended
The Jewish Week feels comments create a valuable conversation and wants to feature your thoughts on our website. To make everyone feel welcome, we won't publish comments that are profane, irrelevant, promotional or make personal attacks.