NH lawmaker says 'Sieg Heil,' removed from chamber
CONCORD, N.H. (WHDH) -- A New Hampshire lawmaker apologized for yelling the Nazi salute "Sieg Heil!" during debate on a voter identification bill on Tuesday.
Embattled lawmaker Steve Vaillancourt defended his use of the salute on The House floor while taking exception to the speaker of the house’s handling of a procedural issue.
“I said, ‘Sieg Heil,’ which is another way of saying, ‘Yes, you have your way no matter what you do,’” said State Rep. Steve Vaillancourt, Manchester, New Hampshire.
Speaker William O'Brien ordered Manchester Republican Steve Vaillancourt removed from the House chambers Tuesday.
The House voted to allow Vaillancourt back into the chamber once he apologized. It took him three tries until his apology was accepted.
Several lawmakers called his remarks inflammatory.
“One of the things I’ve noticed in the years I’ve been here is that as the session tends to wind down, Representative Vaillancourt tends to wind up,” said State Rep. William O’Brien, New Hampshire House Speaker.
“In no U.S. legislative body should any member look at the presiding officer and salute that officer with the words ‘Sieg Heil,’” O’Brien said.
“I thought it was a very sad day for the house. It’s terrible when we can’t get along and show respect to each other,” said State Rep. Kevin Waterhouse, Windham, New Hampshire.
“It was a tragedy, because he wasted all of our time and shouldn’t even have happened in that manner,” said State Rep. Michelle Peckham, North Hampton, New Hampshire.
When asked if he could see why people would take exception to his actions, Vaillancourt responded, “I can’t see that at all. Only ignorant people would say that. In fact, I talked with a Jewish member and she said she thought that absolutely not. I’m probably the most pro-Semitic, pro-gay, the most pro-black, the most pro-everybody being treated equally,” said Vaillancourt. “So that’s a canard, a vial canard.”
"Sieg Heil," which means "Hail Victory," was a common chant at Hitler's rallies.