U.S. Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, the Republican congressman campaigning to keep his District 6 seat, sparked controversy for comments he made to reporters Wednesday, stating that federally funded student loans were unconstitutional and that unconstitutional acts could lead down a "slippery slope" to an event like the Holocaust, several news outlets have reported.
Bartlett, a 10-term incumbent from Frederick County, Md., could represent Germantown if he defeats Democratic challenger John Delaney, a financier from Montgomery County, during the Nov. 1 election.
The Huffington Post and The Washington Post have posted YouTube clips of Bartlett’s comment. According to the video, Bartlett was asked about his stance on the government issuing student loans, to which he responded, “I’m for student loans.”
Bartlett went on to say he couldn’t find any evidence in the U.S. Constitution that the federal government should be involved with education or that student loans were “a good idea.” The Holocaust reference comes up about 3:30 minutes into the clip. According to The Huffington Post, Bartlett said:
"Not that it’s not a good idea to give students loans, it certainly is a good idea to give them loans," he clarified. "But if you can ignore the Constitution to do something good today, tomorrow you will be ignoring the Constitution to do something bad. You could. There are more people in our, in America today of German ancestry than any other... . The Holocaust that occurred in Germany -- how in the heck could that happen? And when you start down the wrong road, it can be a very slippery slope."
Bartlett has since released a statement apologizing for the remark, The Washington Post reports:
“While explaining my position on an important Constitutional issue I regrettably used an extreme example as a comparison that was ill-advised and inappropriate. I should never use something as horrific as the Holocaust to make a political point, and I deeply apologize to anyone I may have offended.”