"Even Adolph [sic] Hitler thought it more important than Obama to get to Paris," begins a Hot Take served up on Twitter last night by a member of Congress.
The tweet, from Rep. Randy Weber (R-Tex.), goes on: "(For all the wrong reasons.) Obama couldn't do it for right reasons."
Weber's comparison followed an apology from the White House for not sending to Paris "someone with a higher profile" than Jane Hartley, the U.S. ambassador to France, to participate in a massive unity rally. That apology was a response to quite a lot of backlash that somehow managed to avoid comparisons to Hitler's 1940 tour of German-occupied Paris.
The tweet from Weber's verified account went live just before 9:30 p.m. on Monday, attracting pretty much instant attention and ridicule, both for the comparison and for Weber's unconventional spelling of Adolf.
Veterans of the Twitter Outrage Cycle were not surprised to see that the remark was eventually deleted, some time after 3 p.m. It was scrubbed shortly after Weber issued an apology "to all those offended by my tweet."
I need to first apologize to all those offended by my tweet... http://t.co/ZQ612AtonU
— Randy Weber (@TXRandy14) January 13, 2015
"It was not my intention to trivialize the Holocaust nor to compare the President to Adolf Hitler," Weber said in a statement. "The mention of Hitler was meant to represent the face of evil that still exists in the world today. 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."
The terrorist attacks in Paris should remind us of the evil that still exists. Hitler was the face of evil, perpetrating genocide against six million Jews and millions of other victims. Today, we are facing the evil of Islamic extremists who are attempting to instill fear and murdering the lives of innocent people from Paris to Nigeria to Jerusalem and all over the world. The President’s actions or lack thereof is my point of contention. Islamic extremists have shown they are not going away, and instead are hungry for more blood.
After World War II, the world made a commitment to ‘Never Again’ allow terror free reign. As demonstrated by the Paris Peace Rally, we must all –Christians, Jews, Muslims, leaders around the world and those willing to fight for freedom – unite and stand strong together against radical extremism in any form.
The conservative congressman had previously called Obama the "Kommandant-In-Chef" (he meant "chief") during the president's 2014 State of the Union address, nearly a year ago.
That tweet still stands:
On floor of house waitin on "Kommandant-In-Chef"... the Socialistic dictator who's been feeding US a line or is it "A-Lying?"
— Randy Weber (@TXRandy14) January 29, 2014
That tweet, the Daily Beast pointed out at the time, started to take off as the "You Lie!" of 2014, until it was overshadowed by Michael Grimm threatening to throw a reporter off a balcony.
Before his Tuesday statement, multiple Jewish groups, including the World Jewish Congress and the National Jewish Democratic Council, called on the congressman to apologize.
"Whilst the Congressman is entitled to criticize the President for being absent at Sunday’s solidarity march for the terror victims in Paris, putting Mr. Obama on a level with the most evil mass murderer of all times crosses a red line," World Jewish Congress CEO Robert Singer said in an statement emailed hours before the apology. Singer, who heads an international federation of Jewish organizations and communities, added that he hoped "the Republican Party leadership in the House of Representatives will distance itself from this outrageous comparison."
Although Weber remains low on the influence scale in Congress, his Twitter account is quickly gaining a reputation for two things: its lively criticism of the president and its typos.
Weber bravely appeared to stand by the latter -- although as Bloomberg's Dave Weigel noted, the congressman's use of "Adolph" was "not inherently ridiculous; the Anglicized spelling of the German dictator's name was commonly used in the 1930s. It makes more sense than the analogy, as Hitler was interested in Paris because he wanted to knock France out of the war and create a puppet state while he focused on land conquests in eastern Europe. Obama has — so far — hinted at no similar territorial ambitions."
Weigel pointed out, as well, that Weber isn't even the quickest draw on the Hill when it comes to using the H-word: Whereas "it took six days for a member of the 114th Congress to compare the president to Hitler," he notes, "the 111th Congress hadn't even been gaveled in" when Paul Broun (R-Ga.) called Obama a Marxist and compared him to Hitler. Broun eventually apologized.
[This post has been updated.]