Trump protest
© REUTERS/Chris Aluka Berry
Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump protest against the results of the 2020 U.S. presidential election in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., November 21, 2020.
Pulitzer prize winner Jerry Saltz sparked outrage online after saying that Republicanism should be dealt with like Covid-19. Facing backlash, the columnist explained that he meant the ideology, not its adherents.

"Republicanism is no longer a political problem; Republicanism is a social problem. It must be treated in the same way coronavirus is treated: it has to be isolated and snuffed-out by repressing it in about 70% of the general population," the art critic and columnist for New York Magazine and Pulitzer Prize recipient tweeted on Saturday.

The colorful analogy did not go down well with many, who said the tweet sounds "a bit gulag-y" and something a Nazi propagandist could have uttered.

Jerry Saltz
"You gonna kill some people, Jerry? Sounds like you are," one person wrote.

Conservative pundit Mark Cernovich did not mince words, accusing Saltz of "sounding like Hitler."

"This is the most un-American tweet I think I've ever seen. Maybe it's a joke or an exaggeration to prove a point? Please tell me this isn't really what it appears to be," author and entrepreneur Josh Dolin tweeted.

Forty minutes after posting his original tweet, Saltz attempted to clarify, saying he "obviously" meant that it's the ideology that needs to be repressed, not its followers.

Comment: He deleted that tweet:
The "ism" not the people, obviously.

— Jerry Saltz (@jerrysaltz) November 21, 2020

The explanation, however, did little to placate the detractors, since the can of worms had already been opened.

Some argued that it's impossible to separate Republicans from Republicanism.

"You mean just like Judaism? Is it possible to treat an 'ism' without snuffing out or repressing those that represent or believe in it?" one commenter said.

Others said Saltz went into damage control mode only "after getting righteously and continuously reamed for 40 minutes."

"If it were obvious, it wouldn't require clarification," one person tweeted.