Representative Randy Weber, a Republican from Texas, apologized on Tuesday for a tweet he issued comparing President Barack Obama’s decision not to attend a rally in Paris to Adolf Hitler’s visit to the city after the Nazis invaded.
Weber, known for his anti-Obama rhetoric, tweeted on Monday: “Even Adolph Hitler thought it more important than Obama to get to Paris. (For all the wrong reasons.) Obama couldn’t do it for right reasons.”
Critics came out in force on Tuesday and said comparing a presidential visit to the Nazis’ deadly advance through Europe in World War Two was in poor taste. They slammed Weber for his lack of historical perspective and for misspelling the name of the former German leader.
“Rep. Weber’s tweet is vile and stoops to a new low level by desecrating the victims of the Holocaust to make a political point,” Steve Israel, a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New York, said in a statement before the apology was issued.
In his apology, Weber said it was not his intent “to trivialize the Holocaust nor to compare the President to Adolf Hitler.”
“I now realize that the use of Hitler invokes pain and emotional trauma for those affected by the atrocities of the Holocaust and victims of anti-Semitism and hate,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.
A smaller number of supporters said Weber was on the mark with his comments and criticized Obama for not attending.
The White House conceded on Monday the United States should have sent a higher-level representative to a Paris unity march after deadly Islamist militant attacks there.
Other Republican lawmakers and U.S. media outlets criticized Obama’s administration for not sending a top official to Sunday’s march, which featured leaders from France, Britain, Germany, and Israel and the Palestinian territories.
In a tweet last year, Weber called Obama a “socialistic dictator,” referring to the president as the “Kommandant-In-Chef.”