County commissioners are again distancing themselves from their fellow Commissioner Mark Shull, who is less than a year into his first term and has already sparked numerous controversies for airing far-right views on social media that have been condemned as racist, Islamophobic, xenophobic and anti-Semitic.
Evan Schreiber on Twitter: “Clackamas County commissioner Mark Shull just shared this Facebook post comparing COVID-19 vaccines to the Holocaust. I guess I have to keep saying this… There is no comparison between safe, effective, proven public health measures and the genocide of six million Jews. pic.twitter.com/ovwzlvq6zr / Twitter”
Clackamas County commissioner Mark Shull just shared this Facebook post comparing COVID-19 vaccines to the Holocaust. I guess I have to keep saying this… There is no comparison between safe, effective, proven public health measures and the genocide of six million Jews. pic.twitter.com/ovwzlvq6zr
In the latest, Shull shared a post on his personal Facebook page that appeared to compare vaccine mandates and other Covid-19 measures to the state-sponsored persecution and genocide of Jews in Nazi Germany during the Holocaust.
“Quote from a Hungarian Jew From the Documentary, The Last Days,” said the post, which Shull has since deleted or made private. “‘People wonder, “how is it that we didn’t do something”. We didn’t run away, we didn’t hide. Well, Things didn’t happen at once. Things happened very slowly.
“‘So each time a new law came out, or a new restriction, we said, “well, just another thing. It will blow over”. When we had to wear the yellow star to be outside we started to worry”.’ Anyone see the parallel ?”
The post was accompanied by a black and white photo depicting a Hungarian couple (which The Canby Current has confirmed to be a true, historical photograph) wearing the yellow Star of David that Jews were forced to wear during Nazi reign.
Shull defended the post during a Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday morning, saying it was “blown out of proportion.”
“There was nothing in there that was disrespectful of the Holocaust,” he said. “There was nothing in there that compared the Holocaust to vaccination mandates. Nothing at all. … It’s only about what happens when people are silent when other people’s civil liberties are restricted.”
But all four of his colleagues, including Chair Tootie Smith, were sharply critical in a statement from the county that came out a few hours later.
“We want to state clearly to our Clackamas County residents and employees that there is no place for hatred and bigotry on the Board of County Commissioners or in the county,” said the statement from the board, minus Shull.
“To our Jewish community members and others who are traumatized by Mark Shull’s statements, we will stand by you and do everything in our power as a board to aid in your healing and ensure that Clackamas County is a safe place for all.”
Shull’s post “dismissed the horror that the Jewish community and so many others experienced during the Holocaust,” commissioners said, and was particularly tone-deaf coming only a few weeks after a hate crime in which a Nazi swastika was painted on county property by a then-employee.
“We want to be clear that our county and we as commissioners, condemn anti-Semitism, racism and bigotry,” the statement said. “Mark Shull’s post does not reflect the values of Clackamas County or this board.”
Shull has been the target of numerous calls for his resignation pretty much since being sworn in, after years of Facebook posts were unearthed that were widely considered racist and Islamophobic.
All four commissioners joined that call and voted to censure him in the wake of that controversy, then stripped him of his board authority and committee assignments following a later furor in which he repeatedly described a hypothetical vaccine passport as the second coming of the racist, pre-civil rights era laws known as Jim Crow.
He is currently facing a countywide recall effort, the campaign for which also released a statement Tuesday blasting Shull for his latest comments.
“The disgusting and offensive use of the Holocaust to advance his political agenda is yet another confirmation of why Mark Shull is unfit to lead this county,” local labor activist Ira Erbs, a child of Holocaust survivors and a leader in the Recall Mark Shull campaign, said in the statement.
“It is past time for Shull to step down, and if he fails to do so, we intend to ask the voters to replace him.”
The campaign is currently fundraising and collecting contact information for those who plan to sign the recall initiative but has not yet filed the petition to formally start the signature-collecting effort.
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