Tennessee Republican Says Hitler’s Rise to Power After Homelessness Should Inspire Us

Tennessee state Sen. Frank S. Niceley (R) invoked Adolf Hitler to support a bill further criminalizing the unhoused in his state.

Tennessee Republican Says Hitler’s Rise to Power After Homelessness Should Inspire Us
Photo:Erik Schelzig (AP)

I regret to inform you that the ghost of Adolf Hitler has made his way into the statements given on the floor of the Tennessee State Senate on Wednesday to justify cruelness toward unhoused people. State Sen. Frank S. Niceley (R) spoke about how genocidal fascist Hitler, who personally oversaw the plan to eradicate Jews from Europe, should be an inspiration to us all…..because he once overcame housing insecurity.

The Tennessee Senate was debating HB0978, a bill which seeks to criminalize the unhoused by making “solicitation or camping” next to a highway ramp a misdemeanor and punishes camping on public property. Niceley actually stood up and defended this bill with a little history lesson about how homelessness was actually good for Hitler:

“Mr. Speaker, I haven’t given you a history lesson in a little while, and I wanted to give you a little history on homelessness. Nineteen and ten [1910], Hitler decided to live on the streets for a while. So for two years, Hitler lived on the streets and practiced his oratory and his body language and how to connect with the masses and then went on to led a life that got him in the history books. So, lot of these people—it’s not a dead end. They can come out of these homeless camps and have a productive life. Or in Hitler’s case, a very unproductive life. I support this bill. Thank you.”

Yes, a state lawmaker is arguing that Hitler—the Nazi who, again, wanted to eradicate all Jewish people and gays and the disabled and Romani to build a so-called “master race”—bootstrapped his way to power. If just reading his quote hasn’t conveyed the full absurdity of this argument, I’d recommend watching the video:

The bill passed the Senate 22-10 on Wednesday and awaits the governor’s signature.

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