Former state Representative Dan Woog, who is a candidate to return to the statehouse, equated the current Democratic legislators with Nazis today. The Republican from Weld County posted a picture of the state Capitol and Hitler to his Facebook page, along with a post claiming that Democratic leaders’ rules of decorum during floor debate are equilvalent to Hitler’s despotic takeover of Germany. After making his analogy, he concluded by writing, “this isn’t contrived sensationalism. This is reality.”

Specifically, Woog decided to go Godwin over a list of immigration-related words that had been requested by his own party’s leader, Rose Pugliese. 

As Westword reported earlier this week:

“According to Majority Leader Monica Duran, the Republican leadership requested the list of immigration terms months ago; the list is not a ban on certain words, she says, but a guide for phrases that can be used in place of offensive ones. It refers to a 2021 memo from the Biden administration to the Executive Office for Immigration Review, directing the office to no longer use the terms ‘alien’ or ‘illegal alien’ to describe migrants.

Minority Leader Rose Pugliese requested the list because Democratic leadership was already enforcing what immigration-related language could be used during debates, in ‘an Orwellian policy of newspeak,’ she says.”

Despite having previously lamented the fact that she feels legislators have “lost the art of true civil discourse,” Minority Leader Pugliese has already made clear she won’t use her role to restrict her members’ public statements in any way.

As Colorado Public Radio reported in February:

“House Minority Leader Rose Pugliese … was firm that she will not try to regulate what Republican lawmakers say in the chamber, or write online. ‘All of our elected officials on both sides have a First Amendment constitutional right to free speech, and we support that. We don’t control our members.’”

At least one House Republican leader sees this decorum dispute as a way to score political points. In a radio interview yesterday, Minority Whip Richard Holtorf (R-Akron) asked KNUS listeners to help fund a lawsuit against the Democrats, which he noted would come at the perfect time — just before an election. 

“We are building a case and Rose [Pugliese] is a lawyer,” said Holtorf. “We are building a case and the stack is getting pretty high. We figure it’s about a $200,000 bill to go after them. Maybe some hotshot lawyers want to do a little pro bono work? We’re building a case and we’re starting to build our warchest, because we just about have them in the crosshairs. They’re going to be in trouble if they’re not careful. And oh by the way, Colorado Republicans, what a perfect time to go after them, right here in 2024, election cycle season, when they’re doing what they’re doing.”

Reach via email, Woog disputed the Colorado Times Recorder’s characterization of his post as equating Democrats with Nazis.

“Since the term equating means to make equal, I want to make clear I am not saying or insinuating that Colorado State Democrats are Nazis,” says Woog. “I am making the point that these types of rules to suppress free speech and not allow these particular words (those of which are not hostile or degrading) have nothing to do with keeping decorum and everything to do with tyrannic rule. This unconstitutional “rule” will definitely not help ease tensions as the session wraps up. When our State government, either party, constructs laws or “rules” depriving the other party of their rights, the government has perverted its power and has decided to play the tyrant. This is not acceptable and should be met with resistance by State legislators and citizens of Colorado. I am not aware of or involved in a lawsuit.”

Read the full text of Woog’s Facebook post below:

Colorado Democratic leadership told Republican state legislators they can’t use terms like: “illegal, alien, invader, interloper, or squatter” during the State House floor debate on immigration and instead use “migrant or new arrivals”.

When the Nazis came to power in 1933, the German constitution guaranteed freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Through decrees and laws, the Nazis abolished these civil rights and destroyed German democracy. Starting in 1934, it was illegal to criticize the Nazi government. Even telling a joke about Hitler was considered treachery. People in Nazi Germany could not say or write whatever they wanted.

“Truth is incontrovertible. Panic may resent it. Ignorance may deride it. Malice may distort it. But there it is.”

-Winston Churchill

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article described Woog as a state legislator. He is a former legislator (2020-2022) from HD63 and current candidate who is running again this November for HD19 (following redistricting).