Illinois Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn is under fire after his campaign urged supporters on Twitter — before quietly deleting the messages after complaints from Jewish leaders — that they read an article that compared black Republicans to Jews who worked with the Nazis.
The article was written by Neil Steinberg in the Chicago Sun-Times
last week, The Washington Free Beacon
reports. It compared African-Americans who backed GOP candidate Bruce Rauner to Jews who supported the Third Reich during World War II.
Focusing on a Chicago publisher, Hermene Hartman, Steinberg charged that Rauner, a billionaire venture capitalist who beat three challengers
in the Republican primary last month, was buying off black leaders and the community.
"As a general rule, individuals will sell out the interests of their groups in return for personal benefit," Steinberg said in the column. "It isn't just a black thing. Jews collaborated with the Nazis during World War II, helping them to round up their own people in the hopes they'd be the last to go."
Quinn campaign officials praised Steinberg's column, sending messages to supporters about it via Twitter several times, the Free Beacon reports.
One message asked: "If Rauner is willing to throw his own money away like this, what's he going to do when he gets his hands on ours?"
The message was deleted after only one day, on April 19, according to Politwoops
, a website that archives political tweets. The site is sponsored by the Sunlight Foundation, which tracks political spending.
In addition, the Quinn campaign also retweeted a message from Steinberg about the column: "Can't imagine supporting Bruce Rauner? Would $50,000 change your mind? It changed Hermene Hartman's."
That tweet also was deleted
after one day, on April 19, according to Politwoops.
The Free Beacon quoted several top Jewish community citizens attacking Quinn's support of the comments — particularly in light of the Passover shootings in Kansas
that killed three people and wounded another — and reported that leaders of several large Jewish organizations had voiced their displeasure with the governor.
"Coming during Passover just a few days after the shootings in Kansas, this kind of rhetoric was beyond outrageous," one Chicago Jewish community leader told the Free Beacon. "Community leaders immediately contacted the governor's office and urged retraction."
The Republican National Committee also attacked Quinn's support of the Steinberg column.
"It's beyond unbecoming of a governor to insinuate that any black person who disagrees with him is a race traitor," Orlando Watson, an RNC communications director, told the Free Beacon. "The only traitor here is Quinn, who, after winning support from black voters in 2010 has failed to create real job opportunities for those who need it most and continues to block children from access to quality schools.
"There's a reason why black voters in Illinois are dropping Quinn and supporting Rauner: it's Governor Quinn's abysmal record in the black community," Watson said.
The Quinn campaign has not officially apologized publicly for promoting the piece nor acknowledged deleting the tweets, the Free Beacon reports.
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