The Illinois Republican gubernatorial candidate is under fire after a 2017 video resurfaced of him saying the Holocaust “doesn’t even compare” to the abortion issue.
In the video posted on Facebook, current Illinois State Senator Darren Bailey said that “the attempted extermination of the Jews of World War II does not even compare to a shadow of a life lost through abortion.”
Bailey, who won the Republican nomination for governor in June with the support of former President Donald Trump, has long positioned himself as a staunch opponent of abortion rights — even going so far as to oppose abortion in cases of rape and incest. .
The suggestion that abortion represents a greater tragedy than the Holocaust was particularly troubling to critics given that it resurfaced at a time when incidents of anti-Semitism are on the rise. increase in the USA. The Jewish news site the Forward first drew attention to Mr Bailey’s comments in a article published on August 1st.
The next day, Governor JB Pritzker, Mr. Bailey’s Democratic opponent, cut a advertising punctuating the statement with the message that Mr. Bailey is “too extreme for Illinois.” Mr. Pritzker is Jewish.
In response to Forward article, Mr. Bailey released a statement in which he called the Holocaust an “unparalleled human tragedy.”
“In no way have I tried to diminish the atrocities of the Holocaust and its stain on history,” Mr Bailey said. “I wanted to highlight the tragedy of losing millions of babies. I support and have met with many people in the Jewish community in Illinois and look forward to continuing to work with them to make Illinois a safer and more accessible place for everyone.”
Mr. Bailey is a heavy underdog in the race against Mr. Pritzker, the popular Democratic governor who has been tipped as a possible presidential contender in 2024 if President Joe Biden decides not to seek re-election.
Mr. Pritzker, whose family owns the Hyatt hotel chain, beat the incumbent Republican governor Bruce Rauner by 15 percentage points in 2018. He led a recent poll of the race against Mr. Bailey by ten points, 49-39.
Mr Bailey’s short general election campaign already had its faults. After a mass shooting at a Fourth of July parade in Chicago’s disproportionately Jewish suburb of Highland Park that left seven people dead and nearly 50 others injured, Mr. Bailey said that ”Let’s pray for justice and then move on. and let us celebrate the independence of this nation.”
He later he apologized for the observation.