CT lawmaker refuses to apologize for comparing Lamont to Hitler

Photo of Liz Hardaway
FILE - In this Feb. 20, 2019 file photo, state Rep. Anne Dauphinais R-Killingly, takes a sip from a big gulp soda as Connecticut Democrat Gov. Ned Lamont delivers his budget address at the State Capitol in Hartford, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)

FILE - In this Feb. 20, 2019 file photo, state Rep. Anne Dauphinais R-Killingly, takes a sip from a big gulp soda as Connecticut Democrat Gov. Ned Lamont delivers his budget address at the State Capitol in Hartford, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)

Jessica Hill / Associated Press

A Connecticut lawmaker is defending her comments comparing Gov. Ned Lamont to German dictator Adolf Hitler over the governor’s COVID-19 vaccine policy for state employees and other mandates.

In a statement posted Friday night on her Facebook page, state Rep. Anne Dauphinais, R-Killingly, responded to the criticism by further drawing comparisons between the Democratic governor and Hitler.

“This governor, with the help of the one-party rule we have in this state right now, has taken dictatorial powers for himself for what will be almost two full years when this latest extension expires,” Dauphinais said. “Hitler, too, was a dictator enabled by the rule of the single Nazi party.”

When reached on Saturday, Dauphinais declined to comment further than the statement she posted Friday on her Facebook page.

“This dictatorial madness must stop,” Dauphinais wrote in the statement. “Nonetheless, I do want to take this opportunity to not apologize, but clarify to Governor Lamont, for I was not clear that I meant that he was acting like Hitler in the early 1930s — to date, he has not called for putting the unvaccinated in camps.”

Ben Proto, chairman of the state Republican party, did not respond Saturday to a request for comment.

Dauphinais has come under fire since commenting Thursday night on the CT News Junkie’s Facebook post about a story on some state employees not being in compliance with Lamont’s order to submit proof of COVID-19 vaccination or agree to weekly testing.

“King Lamont aka Hitler dictating what we must inject into our bodies to feed our family!” Dauphinais wrote in the Facebook comment.

Max Reiss, Lamont’s communications director, on Saturday called Dauphinais’ comments “disgusting, repulsive and disrespectful to the history and memory of victims of the Holocaust.”

“Such antisemitic rhetoric has no place in state government, and no place in our public discourse,” Reiss said.

In her statement, Dauphinais said her “comments were neither antisemitic nor factually inaccurate.”

“This governor is dividing us, calling on those that are vaccinated to discriminate against those that are unvaccinated,” she said. “Segregating us from our workplaces coercing people to make unwanted medical choices in order to keep their jobs, pay their mortgages and feed their families. This is no longer land of the free.”

Dauphinais, whose district includes Killingly and Plainfield in eastern Connecticut, said in the statement that Lamont “has used these dictatorial powers to force healthy children — who have a statistically ZERO % chance of dying from this virus and who are minimal spreaders — to wear dehumanizing, restrictive face masks.”

State data shows that nearly 68,000 Connecticut residents 19 years or younger have contracted COVID, and five have died with the disease.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also said children and adolescents are typically asymptomatic or have mild symptoms. Because of this, they may not know they are infectious and can still spread the virus, the CDC and health experts have said.

In her statement, Dauphinais included a quote from the Holocaust Encyclopedia on the Nazis’ use of camp prisoners to test immunization compounds and antibodies. Dauphinais continued to compare mask and vaccine mandates, as well as alleged censorship of questions about the vaccines, to the plight of Jewish people in Nazi Germany.

“What’s worse, the governor is using these dictatorial powers to force an experimental medicine, with unknown and untold side effects, onto the public at large,” Dauphinais wrote in the statement.

In August, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for those 16 years and older. Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock said the vaccine met “the high standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality the FDA requires of an approved product.” Under an FDA emergency-use authorization, children 12 and older are also eligible for the vaccine.

liz.hardaway@hearst.com