Last week Republican state senator Frank Niceley (R-Strawberry Plains) made national news for his absurd comments invoking Hitler as an inspiration to homeless people. Nobody knew what the hell he was trying to say, and he didn’t seem to either when we asked him.
WATCH: “What point were you making with your Hitler comments? If HITLER can do it anybody can?” 🤔😳
— The Tennessee Holler (@TheTNHoller) April 14, 2022
The comments landed him in all kinds of national publications, and even made him the butt of some John Oliver jokes. This was just months after he made similar waves for saying the Civil War is not over, and the south is winning.
In case anyone is ready to chalk those up to being gaffes of an out-of-touch old southern Republican who just doesn’t know better, Niceley is back in the headlines today to make sure you know that nope, he’s a genuine anti-Semite.
His latest comments concern the removal of Trump backed TN-5 hopeful Morgan Ortagus, who was just one of a handful of candidates removed from the primary ballot in a hotly contested race for Jim Cooper’s open seat in congress.
As you may remember, Ortagus recently moved to Nashville specifically to run for congress, and already has some serious money behind her despite the fact that she couldn’t answer some very basic questions about Tennessee, or her district. Niceley carried legislation that would’ve removed Ortagus and others from the ballot through a 3-year residency requirement, but that isn’t how she ended up getting kicked off. It was actually her Republican bona fides that did her in, since she didn’t vote in 3 of the last 4 Republican primaries, which is a requirement for them to be on the ballot. (Robby Starbuck and Baxter Lee were also just removed)
When asked about the removal of Ortagus and the possibility that it might upset Trump (the defeated insurrection-inciting con man ex-president who Niceley also unwaveringly supports), Niceley had these blatantly anti-semitic comments to say to NBC:
“I don’t think Trump cares one way or the other. I think Jared Kushner — he’s Jewish, she’s Jewish — I think Jared will be upset. Ivanka will be upset. I don’t think Trump cares.”
Implying Jews only care about other Jews because they’re Jewish feeds a very damaging stereotype. Coupled with Niceley’s previous comments about Hitler, and the picture starts to become very clear about what Niceley actually thinks about Jews in general, and it isn’t a pretty one.
Ortagus said this in response:
“Antisemitism is the oldest and one of the most vile forms of hatred on this earth, and Senator should be ashamed of his repeated antisemitic rhetoric. I am incredibly proud to call myself a part of the Jewish people, and I have always called out antisemitism when I see it in all of its forms. I will condemn anyone who traffics in this hate-mongering. Senator Niceley’s repulsive words could not be more clear in disparaging the Jewish people. This racism cannot stand.”
Ward Baker, a campaign strategist for Ortagus who has also been inv0lved with the campaigns of Marsha Blackburn and many other prominent Republicans, had this to say:
— Ward Baker (@WardBaker) April 20, 2022
The question now becomes – will the Republican party condemn Niceley’s comments? Will the TN Senate GOP caucus? Will majority leader Jack Johnson? Lt. Gov. Mcnally? Governor Lee?
Or will they be complicit in their silence? Time will tell.