Colorado Gov. Jared Polis gave an emotional response to a local leader who likened Colorado’s stay-at-home order to Nazism, saying “we act to save lives — the exact opposite of the slaughter of 6 million Jews.”
During a press briefing Wednesday, a reporter asked Polis, who is Jewish, about the criticism from the state’s GOP House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, who reportedly said the order aiming to stop the spread of the coronavirus was leading to "a Gestapo-like mentality.”
"Well, first of all, as a Jewish American who lost family in the Holocaust, I'm offended by any comparison to Nazism," Polis said, a video posted online shows.
"We act to save lives — the exact opposite of the slaughter of 6 million Jews and many Gypsies and Catholics and gays and lesbians and Russians and so many others,” he said, choking up.
"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," he said.
"By not staying at home, by having parties, by congregating, 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 prolonging the economic pain and difficulties that your fellow Coloradans face," the governor continued.
"Now's a time for us to act with unity, to act together, to do the best we can to stay at home except when absolutely necessary, so that we can open up sooner rather than later, so that we can have more freedom quicker rather than later."
His response was widely praised, CBS News reported.
"Governor, you handled that ridiculous Nazi question beautifully. Thank you for your emotional response," one person commented, the news outlet reported.
"Isolation is serving a purpose. That matters, because lives matter. Thank you Governor," another wrote.
"Governor Polis, Fantastic answer and I'm sorry you choked up over that racist questions," another comment read.
When a regional stay-at-home order was implemented by the Tri-County Health Department in the Denver area in March, Neville was among several Republican state legislators who wanted to cut ties with the agency.
Many Republicans also signed a letter denouncing Polis' statewide stay-at-home order, which went into effect March 26. It’s now scheduled to be lifted on April 26.
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