A former Oklahoma Republican congressman who helped build the state GOP said his former party has gone off the rails.
“There’s a screw loose there somewhere,” Mickey Edwards said.
The rebuke from eight-term former Congressman Mickey Edwards comes after State GOP Chairman John Bennett doubled down on comparing private business vaccine mandates to the Holocaust.
“Right now, Republicans in Oklahoma don’t act like grown-ups. They act like children throwing tantrums,” Edwards said.
“My own fellow republicans came out against me,” Oklahoma GOP Chairman John Bennett said in a Facebook video posted to the official party page. He declined to return News 9’s request for comment since last Friday.
“If we don’t do something about it now, it’s going to end in the same exact result as we saw when nobody stood up whenever the Jews were told that they had to wear that star,” Bennett said.
Edwards, who is Jewish, was a founding member of the Heritage Foundation conservative think-tank and helped build the Oklahoma Republican Party from the ground up. In 1976, he was the first Republican elected to represent Oklahoma City in Congress in a half century.
“It was very offensive because all of us who are Jewish have had family members or distant relatives who died in the Holocaust,” Edwards said. “Any time 6 million people get killed, not for doing something or not doing something, just for who they are, that’s as offensive as you can possibly get.”
The 84-year-old left the Republican Party earlier this year after the U.S. Capitol riot. He said the Oklahoma State Chairman’s comments are another example of the party he dedicated much of his life to going astray.
“To allow somebody like that to, across the nation, define what a party member is in Oklahoma or what Oklahoma is, because a lot of people, frankly, they look and see that the party chairman in Oklahoma said that, and they say what kind of places Oklahoma? It hurts the state,” he said.
Over the weekend the state's top Republicans issued a statement saying, “It is irresponsible and wrong to compare an effective vaccine—developed by President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed—to the horrors of the Holocaust. People should have the liberty to choose if they take the vaccine, but we should never compare the unvaccinated to the victims of the Holocaust.”
Gov. Stitt, Lt. Gov. Pinnell, Sen. Inhofe, Sen. Lankford, Congressman Mullin, Oklahoma Senate President Pro Tempore Treat and Oklahoma Speaker of the House Charles McCall signed onto the statement.
“I’m glad to see some people pushing back,” Edwards said. “I wish they would push back harder, and I wish that the governor and the others would call for Bennet to be removed from office.”