State Rep. Steve Reick criticized fellow Republican Darren Bailey on Wednesday for the Republican gubernatorial candidate’s past remarks on social media in which he said abortion was worse than the Holocaust.
Bailey posted the comments to Facebook five years ago while he was running for a spot in the Illinois General Assembly.
In the video posted in October 2017, Bailey was discussing House Bill 40, which expanded abortion coverage through both state health insurance and Medicaid. In the video, Bailey called abortion “one of the greatest atrocities of our day.”
“The attempted extermination of the Jews in World War II, it doesn’t even compare on a shadow of the life that has been lost with abortion since its legalization,” he said in the video.
Reick, a Woodstock Republican, said he has visited the Dachau concentration camp, which was the first camp built by the Nazis in 1933. Although it wasn’t one of the bigger death factories, Reick said, “it leaves no doubt as to the scale of what the Holocaust was.”
“Darren Bailey has crossed a line, a line which you just do not cross,” Reick said in his Wednesday statement. “Once you’ve seen it, you can’t unsee it.”
In a statement earlier this week, Bailey called the Holocaust “a human tragedy without parallel.” He added that he was not trying to diminish the Holocaust and its “stain on history.” Rather, he was trying to emphasize how many lives had been lost to abortion, he said.
“I support and have met with many people in the Jewish community in Illinois and look forward to continuing to work with them to make Illinois a safer and more affordable place for everyone.”
Reick, in his comments Wednesday, took Bailey’s side against abortion, calling the politics of the issue a scar. Still, he pushed back against Bailey’s previous comments.
“Whether he said it 5 years ago or the day before yesterday is no excuse,” his statement reads. “He’s using the greatest criminal act in human history to score political points. I’ll not be party to that and will not follow anyone down a path strewn with that type of rhetoric.”
Along with Reick, several organizations and politicians, including Democratic Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth, have come out against Bailey’s comments.
Bailey, the GOP nominee in this year’s Illinois governor race, is challenging Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker in November.