Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush has weighed in on a popular Internet meme spawned by The New York Times Magazine — if you had the opportunity to kill Adolf Hitler when he was an infant, would you do it?
The former Florida governor came down strongly in the “kill” camp, telling The Huffington Post’s Scott Conroy: “Hell yeah, I would!”
“You gotta step up, man,” he added. Bush later tweeted the article featuring his answer on Monday, with the comment, “Gotta do it.”
Bush has been promising to be more assertive and fiery on the campaign trail, but few likely predicted that meant weighing in on altering the future through infanticide. “It could have a dangerous effect on everything else, but I’d do it — I mean, Hitler,” Bush told Conroy, reportedly with a shrug.
In September, while discussing his anti-abortion views during an appearance on Fox News, Bush said: “I think we need to have a society that protects life from the beginning to end, and we should be a repentant society for sure.”
“And mercy should be at the heart of everything we do,” he added.
This is not the first time a Republican presidential contender has injected World War II-era speculation into the campaign. Dr. Ben Carson made the controversial assertion last month that had Jews taken up firearms against the Nazis they might have been able to prevent the Holocaust.
Carson later said he never intended to “diminish the enormity” of the systematic slaughter of 6 million Jews.
Meanwhile, The New York Times’ query continues to spawn Internet debates and visual spoofs. The publication’s poll has found that 42% of respondents would kill “baby Hitler” while 30% would not and 28% were not sure.