You've surely heard Martin Niemöller famous quote about the German intellectual and religious communities complacency during the Nazis' rise to power in 1930s Germany. It includes the line, "Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew."
Well, Rick Scott decided to appropriate the quote today to defend Mitt Romney from criticism of his former company Bain Capitol. What the hell? Criticizing someone's business practices is no where remotely close to "coming for the Jews."
"I've got a quote in my office," Rick Scott told a board meeting of Enterprise Florida today according to Naked Politics. "First they came for the Jews, and I wasn't a Jew so I didn't say anything...."
Scott used the quote to explain why he thinks it's wrong for fellow Republican candidates to attack Romney's past with his former company Bain Capitol. Some of the business practices and failures of Bain have come under fire, and Newt Gingrich and, previously, Rick Perry have used those controversies as ammo against Romney.
"We shouldn't be allowing candidates to attack people in business, we should be saying... 'That's us,'" Scott continued.
"When you see somebody being attacked because they live the American dream, we ought to go out and say, 'Gosh, I'd like to live the American dream.'"
It's hard to tell exactly what Scott means by this or why he's using the quote, since the man isn't exactly the world's clearest speaker.
However, t's ironic that he'd paraphrase Niemöller in the first place in defense of rich businessmen considering the original quote also defends the rights of communists and trade unions. (Yeah, Republican, you know who also didn't like unions? Hitler.)
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak out because I was Protestant.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.
The exact wording of the quote is not known, and several different version exist. In America, unsurprisingly, "socialist" is usually used in place of "communist." Regardless, this probably wasn't the most appropriate quote for Scott to use.