The Republican Jewish Coalition has called on US congressman Matt Gaetz to admit that he invited a Holocaust denier to the State of the Union speech.
The RJC accused Mr Gaetz of inviting Chuck Johnson, who denied the Holocaust in an Ask Reddit session, to attend the event in January.
When asked about the “Jewish Question” and the Holocaust last year, Mr Johnson said he did not believe that 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazis.
He said: “I think the Red Cross numbers of 250,000 dead in the camps from typhus are more realistic.”
Matt Brooks, RJC executive director, told BuzzFeed that the organisation was “deeply troubled” by Mr Johnson’s comments and his invitation to the address.
He said: “It is incredibly important for the congressman to acknowledge he is a Holocaust denier and has extensive writings that attest to that and that it was wrong to bring him to the State of the Union.”
Mr Brooks added: “We are deeply troubled by any inference that our organization believes otherwise.”
Mr Johnson, who runs the website GotNews.com was invited to the speech last minute after Mr Gaetz’s father fell ill and he had an spare ticket.
In a statement on the website he said: “I am not, nor have I ever been a Holocaust denier. I am a strong supporter of both the state of Israel and the Jewish people.”
Mr Gaetz, a Republican representative for Florida, defended the invitation.
He said: “Chuck Johnson is not a Holocaust denier and he’s not an antisemite.
“He’s a provoker. I should’ve vetted him better before inviting him to the State of the Union. I regret that I didn’t.
“That’s my fault. I take responsibility for it. But he is not a Holocaust denier.”