Missouri GOP senator Josh Hawley's presumptive Democratic challenger in an interview last weekend seemed to compare Republicans to the Nazi architects of the Holocaust.
Lucas Kunce made the comparison during a Saturday appearance on Steve Schmidt's The Warning podcast, after the Lincoln Project cofounder compared the gradual planning of the Holocaust to the recent rise in anti-Semitic incidents in the United States.
"I think what you saw in Germany was some very bad people took … advantage of some real economic hardship that people were going through and they were able to do terrible things through that," Kunce noted, adding that "people will grift off of economic hardship for their own power and for very bad causes."
Kunce, who has repeatedly referred to Hawley as a "fraud," went on to say that his "mission" is to "win this election" to prevent "people who are full of hate running our government." Kunce added that Hawley was "the only person to vote against the anti-Asian hate bill," calling his opponent's vote "quite the curiosity" and pledging to "make sure" that Jewish Missourians were "safe."
It's an odd line of attack to take against Hawley, who has led the Senate in fighting anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric following Hamas's deadly Oct. 7 invasion of the Jewish state. Hawley introduced a resolution, which the Senate passed late last month, condemning what Hawley described as "pro-Hamas, pro-genocide activities on college campuses."
"We must speak with one voice as a nation: attacks on Israel and Jewish Americans are evil," Hawley wrote on X, formerly Twitter, following the vote.
A spokesman for Kunce did not respond to a request for comment.
Kunce, a former college cheerleader and avid Magic: The Gathering trading card collector, is widely considered a long shot in his race against Hawley. An October poll found Hawley leading Kunce, his closest Democratic rival, by 13 points. Kunce in 2022 lost Missouri's Democratic Senate nomination to Anheuser-Busch heiress Trudy Busch Valentine.
The Yale University- and Columbia Law School-educated Kunce has since attempted to rebrand himself as a populist with a southern drawl, calling Hawley, a fellow Yale graduate, "a spoiled rich kid." Kunce's Magic: The Gathering collection is worth more than what the average American has saved for retirement, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
Kunce also spoke to Schmidt about his time in the Marines, implying that his tours in Iraq and Afghanistan gave him a unique perspective on Israel's war in Gaza.
"We had a lot of failure [in Afghanistan and Iraq], right?" Kunce said. "I hope that those lessons are learned and they get taken into what's going on in Israel and Palestine right now so they can come to a good resolution."
Kunce did not elaborate what those lessons are, although he later said "we're standing behind Israel, you know? Israelis have the right to defend themselves, and uh, you know, we're all going to get through this together."