US lawmakers are outraged after a Republican congresswoman compared mandatory mask-wearing to Nazi tactics used to control the Jewish population during the Holocaust.
Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene's comments came after House speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House mask-wearing mandate would remain in place until more Republicans got vaccinated against COVID-19, The Washington post reports.
Greene's explosive comments were aired during an interview on Christian Broadcasting Network's David Brody's conservative podcast 'The Water Cooler', in which she also accused Pelosi of being a hypocrite for asking members to prove they'd been vaccinated before allowing them into the house chamber without a mask.
"You know, we can look back at a time in history where people were told to wear a gold star, and they were definitely treated like second-class citizens, so much so that they were put in trains and taken to gas chambers in Nazi Germany," Greene said on the podcast.
"And this is exactly the type of abuse that Nancy Pelosi is talking about.
"This woman is mentally ill. This is a woman that doesn't care about people's safety. This is a woman that is hyper-focused on her own power and control."
Greene's remarks referred to the millions of Jews who were forced to wear a Star of David on their clothes during the Holocaust.
They prompted Jewish groups to criticise Greene's comments.
"You can never compare health-related restrictions with yellow stars gas chambers and other Nazi atrocities. Such comparisons demean the Holocaust and contaminate American political speech," the American Jewish Congress said in a tweet.
Greene's rhetoric has also been condemned by leaders of both political parties.
"Marjorie is wrong, and her intentional decision to compare the horrors of the Holocaust with wearing masks is appalling," House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy said in a statement.
"As antisemitic violence rises it is disgusting that a republican member of Congress is comparing mask requirements to the holocaust," Democratic Representative Bill Pascrell of New Jersey tweeted.
Greene has since taken to social media to double-down on her extreme rhetoric, writing: "I'm sorry some of my words make people uncomfortable, but this is what the American left is all about."