GOP Rep. Mo Brooks read Hitler's 'Mein Kampf' on House floor in attempt to criticize Democrats and the press

Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama read from an anti-Semitic passage about Jews.

March 26, 2019, 4:00 PM

In an apparent attempt to criticize Democrats and the press, a Republican member of Congress took to the House floor and read from Adolf Hitler's political manifesto.

But instead of his stated goal, which seemed to be to compare the way Democrats and the press talked about collusion to the way Nazi's pushed propaganda, Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama on Monday read from a passage that detailed Hitler's anti-Semitic views about Jews.

"For more than two years, socialist Democrats and their fake news media allies — CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, Washington Post, and countless others — have perpetrated the biggest political lie, con, scam and fraud in American history," Brooks said. The 22-month investigation into whether President Donald Trump's campaign colluded with the Russian government came to a close last week.

"In that vein, I quote from another Socialist who mastered 'Big Lie' propaganda to maximum, and deadly, effect," Brooks said, before quoting Hitler. Brooks and other Republicans have sought to connect Hitler's party -- the National Socialist German Worker’s Party, or Nazi party -- to socialism, an economic system rooted in public ownership and backed by some Democrats in the House. Most historians agree Hitler's party was on the opposite end of the political spectrum and is instead described as far-right and fascist, a one-party dictatorship which often stresses working with privately owned companies.

Reading Hitler's words from this part of the book, Brooks said, "In the big lie, there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily…"

Toward the end of his nearly five-minute remarks, he Brooks argued, “When it comes to 'Big Lie' political propaganda in America, as the Mueller report confirms, America's socialists and their fake news media allies are experts and have no peers," he said. "Regardless, America must reject their 'Big Lies' or succumb to the danger that lurks, and horrific damage that results."

Brooks' remarks sparked immediate criticism, largely because he quoted Hitler on the House floor. But they also immediately sparked controversy because the section Brooks quoted from about the "big lie" was actually a reference to a lie Hitler claimed Jews were promulgating about Germany's defeat in WWI and the reason Hitler painted all Jews as liars.

And as Cold War historian Zachary Jonathan Jacobson recently wrote, the key concern with the term "big lie" is that "“Adolf Hitler first defined the Big Lie as a deviant tool wielded by Viennese Jews ... Yet, in a tragically ironic fashion, it was Hitler and his Nazi regime that actually employed the mendacious strategy."

Brooks' office did not respond to a request from ABC News for comment.

Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks announces his candidacy for the U.S. Senate in Huntsville, Ala., May 15, 2017.
Bob Gathany/AP, file photo

Brooks, who mounted an unsuccessful campaign for Senate in 2017 but lost in the primaries to Roy Moore, has also made controversial remarks about the Democratic Party waging a "war on whites."

Brooks' comments about Hitler also come at a time when allegations of anti-Semitism have been a point of recent contention in Congress.

Over the last few weeks, freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Democrat from Minnesota, was the subject of scrutiny on Capitol Hill for her comments about Israel, which sparked a debate over anti-Semitism that led the House to pass a resolution condemning "hate in all its forms."

Related Topics