Frederick County Democrats and Republicans have spent much of the last week sparring over a Facebook post local Democrats made likening Republicans to Nazis.
The post shared an image of a blue wave with the following text: “75 years ago Patriotic Americans went to France to throw out the Nazis. Next year all you have to do is go to the polls.”
The post stirred an uproar among local Republicans, who deemed the post insensitive and an example of how dangerous rhetoric can hurt local politics.
Several Republican members of the Frederick County delegation issued statements expressing disappointment with the post. And James Dvorak, chair of the Frederick County Republican Central Committee, expressed similar feelings in an interview last week.
“I think it’s a disgusting partisan thing to say,” Dvorak said. “I don’t think there’s any indication that any elected Republicans, especially in Frederick County, have anything to do with Nazis.
“I think it’s offensive to Jewish Americans who are the descendants of people who died in the Holocaust.”
Del. Barrie Ciliberti (R-Frederick and Carroll) also said he was disgusted by the post, adding that it was an “idiotic” thing to say.
“A lot of this is from the hard-core left — they’re venomous, the hard-core left,” Ciliberti said. “They still can’t get over the fact they lost [the presidential election] in 2016.”
Some have used the post as an opportunity to call for more unity between Democrats and Republicans, especially at the state level. That included Del. Jesse Pippy (R-District 4), who posted on Facebook on Jan. 5 about his grandfather Charles Pippy, who fought in the Battle of the Bulge during World War II.
Pippy is chair of the Frederick County delegation this session.
“I truly believe that Frederick County residents expect their local leaders to focus on solving problems and not name calling. I intend to lead by example,” Pippy wrote.
Del. Ken Kerr (D-Frederick), who will also serve his second year as a state legislator alongside Pippy, said last week he disagreed with the post and added it distracts from the job itself.
“My first year [in the General Assembly], I worked hard to establish working relationships with the other party,” Kerr said.
Some, however, have doubled down on the post — including the Frederick County Democratic Central Committee, which commented on Facebook that they stood by it.
“We’re not sure why anyone took offense; the Frederick County Republican Central Committee is manufacturing fake outrage for some reason,” the group wrote. “They’re not talking about ideas of policies, just reacting to what we say or do. Are they running scared now that we outnumber them in the county, or do they actually object to fighting tyranny?”
Democratic registration in Frederick County surpassed that of Republicans late last week.
Deborah Carter, chair of the Democratic Central Committee, could not be reached for comment by phone Tuesday.
Sen. Ron Young (D-Frederick) said last week he wouldn’t have personally posted the message, but he said that Republicans are also to blame for some of the current political climate.
“Calling the whole Republican Party Nazis is a little much, but frankly, I think the Republican Party has become a cult,” Young said, noting they should be critical of how U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is handling President Donald Trump’s upcoming impeachment trial.
As of midday Tuesday, the original post remained on the Frederick County Democrats’ Facebook page, and it has remained a talking point among local political figures on the site.