Maine governor Paul LePage compared the Internal Revenue Service to the Gestapo, the Huffington Post reports.
The Republican governor said the agency was becoming more like the infamous Nazi secret police, and that the Supreme Court’s ruling on Obamacare “has made America less free.”
“We the people have been told there is no choice,” LePage said. “You must buy health insurance or pay the new Gestapo — the I.R.S.”
The governor’s comparison was condemned by Democratic members of Maine’s House and Senate, who said his choice of language was “intentionally offensive” and “trivializes an historic atrocity.”
“The experience of the Holocaust survivors and the veterans of World War II who witnessed the true terror of the Gestapo should not be trivialized for political shock,” state Rep. Emily Cain said. ” The governor must apologize. We urge our Republican colleagues to join us in condemning this language.”
“This is yet another instance of the Governor choosing hostile language over substance,” added state Sen. Justin Alfond. “He’s gone too far and owes not just the people of Maine an apology for his degrading language but to the families who were the victims of the real Gestapo.”
LePage explained his remarks to Vermont radio show host Paul Heintz Thursday, saying he did not believe the IRS was going to intentionally kill anyone, but that citizens could die as a result of rationing.
“Do I think that the [Affordable Care Act] is going to force rationing upon the American people? Yes, that is the clear issue.”
Both Jewish groups and IRS employees have criticized the governor’s comparison, and LePage spokeswoman Adrienne Bennett said the governor would release a statement on Friday apologizing for any offense his remarks caused.