It took three tries, but state Rep. Steve Vaillancourt, R-Manchester, offered both Speaker of the House William O'Brien, R-Mont Vernon, and the representatives of the House an apology.
"As I was saying before, I cannot apologize for anything I did not do," Vaillancourt said. "But I do apologize for using two German words, which I understand has negative ramifications when three Latin words would have been better. I will never use a German word again."
As Vaillancourt received a smattering of applause and returned to his seat, the committee huddled with O'Brien and determined that the apology wasn't acceptable.
After some back and forth, with O'Brien stating to Vaillancourt that there were members in Representatives Hall that had family members who were victims of the Holocaust and had fought in World War II, Vaillancourt made another statement that the speaker did not believe was a direct apology.
O'Brien then demanded a direct apology from Vaillancourt and he made it.
The original story is below.
The Statehouse earlier today after a Manchester Republican used a Nazi chant to Speaker William O’Brien when responding to what he believed were autocratic parliamentary moves on the voter ID bill.
State Rep. Steve Vaillancourt, R-Manchester, blurted out the “Sieg Heil” after the end of a challenge to the speaker’s procedural moves from the floor.
Vaillancourt rose to apologize but was reportedly shut down by O’Brien when he did not immediately apologize. O'Brien then attempted to have Vaillancourt removed from Representatives Hall by the sergeant at arms and later, the New Hampshire State Police.
Vaillancourt, however, refused to budge from his seat, and stayed through the rest of the session and into the recess.
After the House went into recess, O’Brien put together a committee to resolve the matter. At the speaker’s dais, O’Brien met with Rep. Shawn Jasper, R-Mancheseter, state Rep. David Hess, R-Hooksett, and Rep. David Campbell, D-Nashua, to discuss what to do while Vaillancourt and some of his supporters looked on.
Vaillancourt later left his seat and went downstairs to get some coffee.
Vaillancourt said he wasn’t interested in being interviewed after the incident but then added, “I’m going to do what I said I was going to do … I agreed to apologize for using two vile, inflammatory German words when three Latin words would have been more appropriate.”
Later, two members of the committee met with Vaillancourt in the hall of the Statehouse to settle something and Vaillancourt said, “What one little thing ... I thought we already discussed this.”
Vaillancourt also challenged the notion that he offered a Nazi salute.
“There was no Nazi salute at all,” Vaillancourt said, suggesting that he did not offer a Hitler hand motion, only a verbal offering.
Wikipedia describes “Sieg Heil” as a “Nazi salute” or “Hitler salute” that means “hail victory.” It was adopted as a way of showing party obedience, according to historians.
According to other representatives at the Statehouse, Vaillancourt has agreed to offer an appropriate apology when the House goes back into session later today.