Minnesota Rep. Mary Franson appears to compare student protesters, Hitler Youth
ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - Despite a history of social media controversy, comments made by Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria, over the weekend seemed to put the legislator in especially hot water.
In a Facebook post Saturday night she appeared to compare students who participated in the nationwide "March for our Lives" to Hitler Youth by quoting and sharing an article from the United States Holocaust Museum, a statement many say trivializes the actual history of the Holocaust.
"Oftentimes in politics if you don't like someone or you don't like an organization you call them a Nazi, and that's completely inappropriate," said Rep. Frank Hornstein, DFL-Minneapolis, whose grandparents died during the Holocaust. "It's ignorant, it's insensitive, and it actually cheapens the civic discourse in our country."
Franson initially shared a post from another page referring to Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg as "Supreme Leader Hogg," claiming he made a statement saying his constitutional rights were infringed upon. Above the article, Franson wrote, "he's the leader of the movement though" with a raised eyebrow emoji. 20 minutes later she penned another post, saying "There you have it friends ... the anti gunners, the high school students who speak for all, aren't interested in an inch". [sic] They want the mile. They want your guns. Gone."
Minutes later Franson posted a Hitler quote accompanied by images of young Germans donning swastikas, though she says the two posts were unrelated.
"I did not intend for one Facebook post about those who are pushing for gun control to be connected to another, separate post I shared from the United States Holocaust Museum about indoctrinating youth," Franson said in a statement to Fox 9. "I've deleted the post to clear up any confusion."
Beyond that, in the wake of the incident it appears Franson deleted her Facebook page entirely.
This is not the lawmaker's first brush with controversy after making another Holocaust-related reference to gun control measures in 2016, as well as an online comment in 2012 comparing food stamp recipients to animals. She's also garnered attention in the past for pushing the widely-debunked theory that vaccines can cause autism.
"It's not the only time, and it has to stop," Hornstein said. "I want my grandparents memory honored not trivialized."