Skip To Content
Fast Forward

In leaked audio, Michigan GOP chair laughed off criticism of Holocaust analogy tweet

Kristina Karamo said that anger over a post in which the Michigan GOP invoked the Holocaust to attack gun restrictions was ‘completely hilarious’

The head of the Michigan Republican Party privately mocked outrage over a social media post that compared proposals to tighten gun laws to Nazi laws targeting Jews before the Holocaust, calling it “hilarious.” 

In a leaked audio of a May 17 event, first shared on Wednesday by The Daily Beast, Kristina Karamo, the chair of the Michigan GOP, doubled down on a meme the party’s official Twitter and Facebook pages shared in March reading, “Before they collected all these wedding rings, they collected all the guns.” The image showed rings taken from Holocaust victims. 

The Anti-Defamation League and the Republican Jewish Coalition condemned the post as offensive and unacceptable. 

Speaking at a Montcalm County Lincoln Day Dinner, Karamo rejected the criticism as “completely hilarious” and mentioned “basic things like history” to defend the meme, according to the report. 

“They’re still going on and on about that, ‘Are you going to apologize?’” she said. “I’m like, ‘really, are you guys still going on about this?’ I get this mail and it’s about how I’m encouraging white supremacy and xenophobia, all this.”

“I just laugh so hard,” Karamo said.

Matt Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, who had urged the local party to take the post down, said of Karamo’s comments, “When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging,” in a text exchange with the Forward.

In 2022, the Anti-Defamation League accused Karamo, whom former President Donald Trump endorsed after she said there was “overwhelming evidence” of election fraud in the 2020 election, of invoking antisemitic tropes about Jewish power. During her campaign for secretary of state last year, Karamo called Democratic incumbent Jocelyn Benson a “puppet” controlled by Jewish billionaire George Soros. She also claimed Benson, who is Jewish, and the state’s Jewish attorney general, Dana Nessel, were “all part of the Soros minion club.” 

Soros, a Hungarian-born Democratic megadonor and Holocaust survivor, has long been the subject of antisemitic attacks from the far right. 

Trump, the frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination in 2024, is expected to speak on Sunday at another Michigan GOP Lincoln Day Dinner, an annual celebration and fundraising event for the Republican Party, hosted by Oakland County Republicans.

A message from our editor-in-chief Jodi Rudoren

We're building on 127 years of independent journalism to help you develop deeper connections to what it means to be Jewish today.

With so much at stake for the Jewish people right now — war, rising antisemitism, a high-stakes U.S. presidential election — American Jews depend on the Forward's perspective, integrity and courage.

—  Jodi Rudoren, Editor-in-Chief 

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.