BURR RIDGE, IL – Burr Ridge Mayor Gary Grasso has condemned Republican gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey’s 2017 comments comparing abortion to the Holocaust.
“As a person with Jewish heritage on my mother’s side, Darren Bailey’s comments claiming abortion is worse than the Holocaust clearly disqualifies him, combined with his many other disqualifying positions, to hold any responsible office in this state,” Grasso, a Republican, said Thursday. “Bailey should withdraw and give Republicans a chance to put forth a viable candidate. He’s already lost the Governor’s race. Bailey is too extreme to hold any office.”
In a 2017 video on Facebook, Bailey said he believed abortion was one of the greatest atrocities in modern times.
“The attempted extermination of the Jews of World War II doesn’t even compare on a shadow of the life that has been lost with abortion since its legalization,” Bailey said.
After the video attracted attention last week, Bailey sought to clarify what he said.
“The Holocaust is a human tragedy without parallel,” he said in a statement. “In no way was I attempting to diminish the atrocities of the Holocaust and its stain on history. I meant to emphasize the tragedy of millions of babies being lost. I support, and have met with, many people in the Jewish community in Illinois, and look forward to continuing to work with them to make Illinois a safer and more affordable place for everyone.”
Gov. JB Pritzker, a Democrat seeking re-election, has launched an ad criticizing Bailey’s 2017 statement.
Grasso did not list Bailey’s other “disqualifying” positions. He also did not suggest a replacement for Bailey.
On Grasso’s Facebook page, many commenters criticized Grasso in response to his statement and expressed support for Bailey.
On Sunday, Grasso reiterated his position on Bailey.
“Bailey has not apologized for his comparison of abortion being worse than the Holocaust,” Grasso said. “Republicans who think they can get elected in November on their own merit must decide whether to distance themselves from and disavow the albatross at the top of the ticket.”
In the June 28 Republican primary, Grasso lost to Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau in the 6th Congressional District race. Grasso has not publicly endorsed Pekau.