At the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum in Poland visitors can enter gas chambers once used to commit mass murder. When they do, they see a sign asking them “maintain silence” in a show of respect for all those who were killed inside.
U.S. congressman Clay Higgins of Louisiana must have missed that on his way in. On Saturday, the Republican, who was known as “Cajun John Wayne” while working as a sheriff’s deputy, uploaded a five-minute video shot at the memorial, including several minutes that were shot inside the former gas chambers. In the video Higgins speaks about the horror of what happened inside the gas chambers and then turns the attention to the U.S. “This is why homeland security must be squared away, why our military must be invincible,” he says.
Higgins’s video drew a sharp rebuke from officals at the memorial. On Twitter, the site’s official account said the gas chamber is “not a stage” and tweeted an image of the sign that Higgins would have seen upon entering the building where he filmed.
After leaving the gas chamber, Higgins continues speaking to the camera in the video and sums up his thoughts like this: “It’s hard to walk away from the gas chambers and ovens without a very sober feeling of commitment — unwavering commitment — to make damn sure that the United States of America is protected from the evils of the world.”
While embarrassing, the video hasn’t led to any high-profile calls for Higgins to resign, making it less of a controversy than the last time he made national news. Earlier this month, Higgins reacted to a terror attack in London by imploring “all of Christendom” to rise up and hunt down every “radicalized Islamic suspect.” Then, he wrote, “kill them all.”
Not long after the post, calls for his resignation began.