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Tennessee state senator offers Hitler as inspiration to homeless

The Hill logo The Hill 4/14/2022 Lauren Vella
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A Tennessee state senator on Wednesday used Adolf Hitler as an example of inspiration and hope for the homeless during a speech on the floor of the state’s upper chamber.

Tennessee state Sen. Frank Niceley (R) made his remarks on the Senate floor during a debate on a bill to make camping or soliciting along state highways or exit ramps a misdemeanor.

Niceley said that he was going to give his fellow lawmakers a “history lesson,” adding that in 1910, Hitler took to the streets and practiced his oratory and his people skills.

“Hitler decided to live on the streets for a while. So for two years, Hitler lived on the streets and practiced oratory and his body language and how to connect with the masses, and then went on to lead a life that got him into history books,” he said.

“So a lot of these people, it’s not a dead end. They can come out of this, these homeless camps and have a productive life, or in Hitler’s case, a very unproductive life,” he continued. “I support this bill.”


Video: Tennessee lawmaker makes controversial remarks about Hitler (The Washington Post)

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The Hill has reached out to Niceley’s office for additional comment on his speech. The Hill also reached out to state Sen. Ferrell Haile (R), the Speaker pro tempore of the state Senate.

Following Niceley’s remarks, some state lawmakers took to social media to condemn his comments.

“TN Senator says Hitler made something of himself after being homeless & you can too. I’m going to have to apologize to the universe for this guy,” tweeted state Rep. Gloria Johnson (D), along with the video of Niceley’s speech.

“Hey @MeidasTouch not a single day passes without TN GOP embarrassing the hell out of our state.”

The bill is aimed at cutting down homeless camps, according to Fox 17. The legislation was passed on Wednesday and is now headed to Gov. Bill Lee’s (R) desk for his signature.

Opponents of the bill say it is unfair and argue that the way to combat homelessness is with more housing.

“The answer to homelessness and we’ve said it over and over is more housing. We need to put the resources that we are spending making more laws that are clearly inhumane into the resources we need to build more housing units,” said Paula Foster, a nonprofit homelessness advocate, according to the outlet.

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