A Republican congressional candidate in a Kansas race Democrats are targeting in November told an audience at a party meeting this month that “outside of Western civilization there is only barbarism.”
The comments from State Sen. Steve Fitzgerald, a candidate seeking the Republican nomination in the race to replace retiring Rep. Lynn Jenkins, came at a July 2 meeting of the Leavenworth County Republican Party. During his more-than-30-minute speech, Fitzgerald lamented the fact that people believe “Western civilization is the problem,” argued that Christendom is “under attack” and doubled down on his previous statement that Planned Parenthood is worse than a Nazi concentration camp.
“We are being told that Western civilization is the problem in the world,” Fitzgerald said, according to video provided by a Democratic operative. “Outside of Western civilization there is only barbarism.”
He added: “Our Judeo-Christian ethic is what is civilization. And that is what is under attack here and abroad. It also goes by a different name. Christendom. It’s under attack. And even speaking about it can bring you under attack. It has brought me under attack.”
This is not Fitzgerald’s first brush with controversial comments.
Earlier this year, after someone donated to Planned Parenthood in Fitzgerald’s name, he told the group in a letter that he did not agree with the donation and compared them to Dachau, the Nazi concentration camp that killed thousands during the Holocaust.
“This is as bad – or worse – as having one’s name associated with Dachau,” Fitzgerald wrote.
Fitzgerald retold the story during the July meeting and doubled on his comments, despite the fact that both the Kansas Republican Party and the Rabbinical Association of Greater Kansas City have asked the candidate to stop.
“So Planned Parenthood is busy out their waging war against the next generation and winning,” he said, before noting all the pushback that came after his letter to Planned Parenthood was made public.
“It was a firestorm. I got calls from everywhere, ‘How dare you? How could you? How could you compare it to Dachau?’” he recalled. “I said, you are right, ‘Dachau really wasn’t one of the bigger killing camps and these guys numbers are way beyond anything that they did.’”
But then Fitzgerald expounded on his argument, telling the Republicans that history is littered with people taking advantage of and dispatching the lives of others, citing slavery and the treatment of American Indians.
“Ask the blacks about slavery. Ask the American Indians,” he said. “Ask – well, of course, the Indians were doing it to each other. The whites were doing it to each other. But if you go all back in history, we have never had much compunction about killing each other, especially if you couldn’t fight back.”
He added: “Outside of Western civilization is only barbarism. Abortion is not compatible with Western civilization. And we need to make that clear, we need to make it recognized, we need to make people understand we are talking about humanity.”
Fitzgerald, who did not respond to a request for comment from CNN, is one of seven Republicans vying to represent the party in November. He is running as a vocal pro-life Republican in the August 7 primary and his campaign website casts him as a “a repeated denouncer of the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood.”
While CNN has rated the race to replace Jenkins as leaning Republican, Democrats have lined up behind former Kansas House Minority Leader Paul Davis to flip the district, which stretches the state from north to south and includes parts of suburban Kansas City.
Davis, with the help of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, has raised more than $1 million, far more than any of the Republican hopefuls.
During the speech, Fitzgerald also provided his views on President Donald Trump.
Though he commended the President’s actions in office, he admitted that he “didn’t like the guy at all” at first.
“I didn’t like him very well at all,” he said. “But, boy, I love him now. I am not certain I would necessarily want to have a beer with him. But I want him to keep going. Keep doing what you are doing, buddy.”
CNN’s Paul P. Murphy and Terence Burlij contributed to this report.