A Democratic congressman and a conservative activist clashed during a hearing on white nationalism Tuesday over the right-wing provocateur’s prior comments calling Adolf Hitler’s sense of nationalism “fine.”
During a House Judiciary Committee hearing on “Hate Crimes and the Rise of White Nationalism,” Rep. Ted Lieu of California played a clip of Candace Owens, of the conservative group Turning Point USA, discussing Hitler.
“In congressional hearings, the minority party gets to select its own witnesses. And of all the people that Republicans could have selected, they picked Candace Owens,” Lieu said. “I don’t know Ms. Owens – I’m not going to characterize her. I’m going to let her own words do the talking. So I’m going to play for you the first 30 seconds of a statement she made about Adolf Hitler.”
Lieu then played a clip of Owens describing Hitler’s motive “to make Germany great” as “fine.”
“I actually don’t have any problems at all with the word nationalism,” Owens says in the clip. “I think that it gets – the definition gets poisoned by elitists that actually want globalism. Globalism is what I don’t want. So when you think about – whenever we say nationalism, the first thing people think about – at least in America – is Hitler. You know, he was a national socialist, but if Hitler had just wanted to make Germany great and have things run well, OK, fine. The problem is that he wanted – he had dreams outside of Germany. He wanted to globalize, he wanted everybody to be German, everybody to be speaking German.”
Lieu asked witness Eileen Hershenov, a senior vice president at the Anti-Defamation League, “So when people try to legitimize Hitler, does that feed into white nationalist ideology?”
“It does, Mr. Lieu,” Hershenov replied. “I know that Ms. Owens distanced herself from those comments later, but we expressed great concern over the original comments.”
Owens accused Lieu a few minutes later of thinking that African-Americans are “stupid.”
“I think it’s pretty apparent that Mr. Lieu believes that black people are stupid and will not pursue the full clip in its entirety. He purposefully presented an extracted clip,” she said, before committee Chairman Jerry Nadler interjected.
The New York Democrat stressed that “it is not proper to refer disparagingly to a member of the committee” and “the witness may not refer to a member of the committee as ‘stupid,’ ” telling Owens not to make such comments again.
She replied, “I didn’t refer to him as ‘stupid.’ That’s not what I said. That’s not what I said at all. You didn’t listen to what I said.”
The conservative activist accused Lieu of mischaracterizing her remarks and called Hitler “a homicidal, psychopathic maniac that killed his own people – a nationalist would not kill their own people.”
Lieu “purposefully wanted to give you a cut-up similar to what they do to Donald Trump to create a different narrative,” Owens added. “That was unbelievably dishonest and he did not allow me to respond to it, which is worrisome and should tell you a lot about where people are today in terms of trying to drum up narratives.”