A Louisiana Congressman is being roundly criticized by the Auschwitz Memorial for shooting his own little Ken Burns-meets-campaign-ad video inside one of the gas chambers there. Congressman Clay Higgins, who recently wrote that “all of Christendom... is at war with Islamic horror,” managed to turn his visit to the former death camps into an ad for giving the U.S. military more money.
Visitors are not meant to film—or talk—at Auschwitz as a sign of respect, but Higgins, who serves on the House Homeland Security Committee, did both, shooting an iPhone dispatch where he mused about human atrocities over the sound of mournful violins.
“Man’s inhumanity to man can be quite shocking,” Higgins declared. Indeed. The Congressman wrote on Facebook on June 4 that Muslim terror suspects should be murdered en masse.
The free world... all of Christendom... is at war with Islamic horror. Not one penny of American treasure should be granted to any nation who harbors these heathen animals. Not a single radicalized Islamic suspect should be granted any measure of quarter. Their intended entry to the American homeland should be summarily denied. Every conceivable measure should be engaged to hunt them down. Hunt them, identify them, and kill them. Kill them all. For the sake of all that is good and righteous. Kill them all.
Higgins declined to walk back or clarify those comments at the time, telling the Washington Post that “political correctness” is making the U.S. reluctant to discuss radical Islamic terror.
The Congressman was evidently quite moved by his visit to Auschwitz, and left feeling very America fuck yeah by what he beheld there.
“This is why homeland security must be squared away, why our military must be invincible,” Higgins said soberly into his goddamn phone. “The world’s a smaller place now than it was in World War II. The United States is more accessible to terror like this, horror like this. It’s hard to walk away from gas chambers and ovens without a very sober feeling of commitment—unwavering commitment—to make damn sure that the United States of America is protected from the evils of the world.”
The Auschwitz Memorial responded with polite disgust, and a reminder that visitors to the former concentration camp are asked to maintain a respectful silence.
“Everyone has the right to personal reflections,” they wrote. “However, inside a former gas chamber, there should be mournful silence. It’s not a stage.”
Higgins hasn’t responded to the criticism, but this is not his first brush with moderately embarrassing video fame. The Congressman was previously a police officer with the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office, where he made a series of rambling Crime Stoppers videos that must be seen to be believed.
The videos led Higgins to be locally dubbed “Cajun John Wayne.” The Washington Post claimed in 2015 that one fugitive was so moved by the video about his own crime that he up and turned himself in.
As with many things these days, what was mildly funny on a local level looks very different when someone has federal power and influence. Now that Higgins has returned to the United States, he’ll continue supporting H.R. 3003, which seeks to punish sanctuary cities and empower federal agents to deport as many people as humanly possible, which is definitely the lesson one should take away from the horrors of the Holocaust.
Update, 5:45 p.m.:
NPR reports that Higgins has “retracted” his video, in his words, which is not really possible, although he has removed it from the Internet. Through a spokesperson, he also offered a statement of apology.
“I filmed the Auschwitz message with great humility. My intent was to offer a reverent homage to those who were murdered in Auschwitz and to remind the world that evil exists, that free nations must remember, and stand strong.
However, my message has caused pain to some whom I love and respect. For that, my own heart feels sorrow. Out of respect to any who may feel that my video posting was wrong or caused pain, I have retracted my video.
The atrocities that happened at Auschwitz were truly despicable, and we must never let history repeat itself in such a way. I have always stood with Israel and all Jewish people, and I always will. We live in a dangerous world, and massive forces of evil do indeed yet exist. We must all stand united against those evils. My Auschwitz video has been removed, and my sincere apology for any unintended pain is extended.”