News & Politics

Alaska's Republican Congressman Has Some Mind-Melting Thoughts About the Holocaust

Don Young won't let history or basic decency get in the way of his gun rights advocacy.

Photo Credit: Screenshot / YouTube

Rep. Don Young enjoys drilling for oil in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge, tax cuts for billionaires, and arming teachers in order to address school shootings. It's all fairly standard for a Republican in 2018. A Democratic challenger, however, caught Young on tape with a take on the Holocaust that stands out even in an age when the president has announced on national television that a clash between actual Nazis and anti-fascists protesters had "good people on both sides." According to a recording made by Dimitri Shein, Young believes that the Holocaust would have turned out differently if only the Jews had been armed. 

"How many millions of people were shot and killed because they were unarmed? Fifty million in Russia,” the congressman is heard asking. “How many Jews were put in the ovens because they were unarmed?”

Shein previously asked Young about public safety, which prompted the response. 

As the Sacramento Bee points out, "The argument that gun control eased Adolf Hitler’s rise in Germany before World War II has circulated among gun-rights advocates for years, even appearing in a National Review article. The Anti-Defamation League, however, has called the claim outlandish."

Young is Alaska's only member of the House, a position he's held since 1973. Shein immigrated to Alaska from Russia at the age of 12, and has been a resident ever since. He is an accountant who invented a planter box and now runs an e-commerce company selling them all over the country. According to an interview with radio station KTOO, Shein, who has no political experience, is running on a platform of Medicare for All

Shein currently lags behind Young in fundraising and polling, although perhaps this recording will give him a boost.

Watch the whole exchange below. 

H/T Sacramento Bee


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Ilana Novick is an AlterNet contributing writer and production editor.