Republican New York Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin apologized Tuesday for comparing Governor Andrew Cuomo to fascist dictators Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.
McLaughlin was discussing Cuomo's aggressive push to get gun control legislation passed quickly when he said:
“We were told to shut up and vote and that’s what this is all about. Just don’t question it and vote. That’s basically the message here. If that’s not dictatorial, I don’t know what is. Hitler would be proud, Mussolini would be proud of what we did here, Moscow would be proud, but that’s not democracy.”
Officials across New York swiftly condemned McLaughlin's comparison.
"These comparisons are simply revolting," said Eric Soufer, spokesman for Senate Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein, according to The Daily News. "When legislators make comments like this they not only embarrass themselves--they embarrass New York."
And Ron Meier, the New York Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League, said:
"The heated political debate over gun control and government transparency should not be tainted by inappropriate and offensive invocations of Hitler or Nazism.
"Whatever one’s opinion about the governor’s actions, the notion that his efforts to promote gun control legislation at the state level are akin to Adolf Hitler’s actions during World War II is historically inaccurate and a trivialization of the Holocaust.”
McLaughlin has now released a video statement (see below) apologizing for his remarks, saying he made them in the "heat of the moment."
"I apologize to the governor and to all of you for doing that," he said. "It was the wrong analogy to make.”