Updated: 4:54 p.m. ET
Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) says he supports student loans, so America’s youth can get a good education. But the government getting involved in education, he believes, puts the country on a slippery slope that could lead to, say, something like the Holocaust.
At a town hall event at a college in Maryland on Wednesday, Bartlett said he could not find “a shred of evidence” in the Constitution that the government should be involved in education. It’s “certainly a good idea” to give students loans, Bartlett said in a video posted by the Washington Post. “But if you can ignore the Constitution to do something good today, tomorrow you will be ignoring the Constitution to do something bad,” he explained. “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.”
Barlett’s spokesperson told the Post that the student-loan remarks fit with the congressman’s belief in limited government.
Bartlett on Thursday issued a statement of apology for his remarks:
“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.”
As the Post notes, Bartlett is in a tough reelection battle in Maryland, after Democrats redrew his district.
Watch Barlett’s remarks below:
David Taintor is TPM’s News Editor. He contributes to TPM’s Livewire coverage, among other areas. David is from Chanhassen, Minnesota, where, yes, it gets very cold. Reach him at taintor [at] talkingpointsmemo.com