UPDATE: Via the Denver Post’s Alex Burness, House Minority Leader Patrick Neville starts the backpedaling:
I called House Minority Leader Patrick Neville a bit ago. He declined to apologize for his "Gestapo" remark, but said, "I should have said authoritarian, not Gestapo."
He also accused Polis today of making "political hay out of something that really was nothing."
— Alex Burness (@alex_burness) April 15, 2020
Sometimes it’s better to just stop talking. The Nevilles don’t know how to do that.
During today’s briefing by Colorado Gov. Jared Polis on the state’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Polis was asked about Republicans who have lashed out at his and public health authorities’ orders for most Coloradans to stay at home as “tyranny” and even, as GOP House Minority Leader Patrick Neville put it, “a Gestapo-like mentality”–in reference to, in case you were sleeping in high school history class, the secret police in Nazi Germany.
Gov. Polis, who happens to be the first Jewish governor of the state of Colorado, had a strong reaction to this question. Transcript follows, but watching the video is necessary to grasp the full weight of the scene:
REPORTER: We’re hearing a lot of reports around here, and I know I’ve seen some stuff going on statewide about neighbors reporting on other neighbors for not following the orders, seeing a lot of rebellion out here against your orders, which have been called tyrannical, against local health department orders being equated to Nazism, um, what do you how do you react to that, what do you say to those people who are really getting frustrated with this uh stay at home order?
GOV. POLIS: Well first of all, you know, as a, a Jewish American who lost family in the Holocaust I’m offended by it. (Pause) Any comparison to Nazism. We act (pause) we act to save lives, the exact opposite (pause) of the slaughter of six million Jews, and many Gypsies and Catholics and gays and lesbians and Russians and so many others.
That being said, we know that these steps are difficult. And it’s not a contest to see what you can get away with. It’s a contest to see how well you can stay at home. You’re not, by not staying at home, by having parties, by congregating, you’re not–you’re not sticking it to the government, you’re not sticking it to Jared Polis. You’re sticking it to yourself.
Because you’re putting yourself and your loved ones in jeopardy. And you’re prolong-prolonging the economic pain and difficulties that your fellow Coloradans face. Now is the time for us to act with unity, to act together, to be able to do the best that we can to stay at home except when absolutely necessary, so we can open up sooner, rather than later, so that we can have more freedom quicker rather than later, and we can create a sustainable way for us to get by as a state and as a country.
As progressive Democrats go, Gov. Polis is one of the more libertarian-minded free market enthusiasts you can find. Even in the pursuit of progressive policy aims like expanding health care access and paid family leave, Polis has favored a market-based approach over traditional public institutions–which has made him a point of controversy more than once, and again this year.
The idea that Gov. Polis wants to impose even a little bit of economic hardship on the state, let alone the painful restrictions on the economy which have been necessary to reduce the death toll from COVID-19, is simply absurd to anyone who knows Polis’ values and and has followed his almost two decades in elected office. There is no reason to doubt Gov. Polis’ sincerity in wanting to get Colorado through this emergency intact, any more than we would doubt Polis’ offense over Patrick Neville’s outlandish Nazi rhetoric is genuine.
Watch the video. Every Coloradan needs to watch this.