Republican Lawmaker Says Homeless Should Look to Hitler for Inspiration
Tennessee State Senator Frank Niceley on Wednesday used Adolf Hitler as an example of how the homeless can pull themselves up by their bootstraps and make something of themselves. Niceley ultimately acknowledged that Hitler ended up having “a very unproductive life” — begging the question of why the Republican legislator brought him up at all.
The Tennessee legislature was debating H.B. 0978, a bill that makes “solicitation or camping along a controlled-access highway or entrance or exit ramp” a misdemeanor warranting a $50 fine and community service work. It also amends an existing law to “apply the offense of unauthorized camping on state property to all public property.” The bill’s purpose is clear: to limit areas where the homeless can be.
The bill passed the Senate in a partisan vote, 22 to 10, with only Republicans voting in favor.
“I haven’t given you all a history lesson in awhile, and I want to give you a little history on homelessness,” Niceley began prior to its passage. “[In] 1910, Hitler decided to live on the streets for awhile. So for two years … he practiced his oratory and body language and how to connect with citizens, and then went on to lead a life that got him in the history books.”
TN GOP state senator uses Hitler as an example of how people can make something of themselves after being homeless.
This is absurd. pic.twitter.com/bhyTWIz6C1
— The Republican Accountability Project (@AccountableGOP) April 14, 2022
“So, a lot of these people — it’s not a dead end,” the Republican continued. “They can come out of this, these homeless camps and lead a productive life. Or in Hitler’s case, a very unproductive life.”
This isn’t the first time Niceley has put his foot in his mouth. In arguing against a bill to ban smoking indoors in Tennessee earlier this month, he said it could hurt the state’s standing with tourists “from the Orient,” who are used to smoking inside.
Tennessee Senate approves bill allowing local governments to ban smoking in 21-and-up bars – despite one senator’s concern for tourists “from the Orient.” pic.twitter.com/mjqUVTiWcR
— Phil Williams (@NC5PhilWilliams) April 8, 2022
Last fall, he said he told his grandson that “it’s too early to tell” whether the South lost the Civil War. “I think I can tell my grandson that the war between the states is going on and we’re winning,” he said.
SEN. NICELEY: “THE CIVIL WAR IS STILL GOING, THE SOUTH IS WINNING.”😳
As TN awards @Ford $900M, @senfrankniceley says companies coming to TN shows the South is winning a war over slavery that ended in 1865.(THE SOUTH LOST)
P.S. TN is 1 of the most federally-dependent states. pic.twitter.com/atvTRsmdPb
— The Tennessee Holler (@TheTNHoller) October 21, 2021
It shouldn’t come as a shock, then, to learn that Niceley also joined a lawsuit in 2009 demanding that former President Barack Obama show his birth certificate. He was reelected to the Tennessee House the following year, then in 2012 won his race for the state Senate, where he was reelected unopposed in 2016 and 2020.
Perhaps his constituents see his “history lessons” as too good to do without.