GOP Lawmaker Sparks Outrage After Repurposing Holocaust Poem To Sell “Useless” Mask

The day after Holocaust Remembrance Day, North Carolina Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn appears to have modified a commonly cited poem by a German Lutheran pastor who survived a Nazi concentration camp to sell merchandise on his campaign website.

“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist,” the frequently cited poem attributed to pastor Martin Niemöller reads. “Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Cawthorn created his own version of the popular poem to sell t-shirts and face masks on his campaign website.

“First they came for our Free Speech, then they came for our Free Markets, next they’ll come for our Free Shipping on orders $50 or more with promo code: FREEDOM50,” the lawmaker tweeted.

Cawthorn previously referred to Adolf Hitler as “the Fuhrer” in an Instagram post sharing photos from his visit to the former Nazi leader’s German vacation home. He claimed it had “been on my bucket list for awhile (sic).”

The newly-elected congressman drew online ridicule after Twitter users pointed out that his campaign merchandise page included a white face mask with the word “Useless” printed in simple black text.

The “self-own” mask appears to have been removed from the merchandise page.


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