LAURINBURG —The chairman of the Scotland County Republican Party said recent comments on social media about the new head of the national Democratic Party were meant to be sarcastic rather than racist or homophobic.
In a March 1 Facebook post for the Scotland County Republican Party, local GOP chairman Mark Schenck wrote:
“Tom Perez DNC Chairman? Surprise! They didn’t elect a Homeless, Muslim, Transvestite, Mulatto, illegally here from Mexico with his 10yr, old Wife. Maybe next time?”
Schenck said Thursday that the post was meant to be a criticism of the national Democratic Party that panders to minority groups, but elects an establishment candidate. Perez is a former secretary of labor under President Barack Obama and was backed by more establishment figures in the party. He defeated Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison, who was the first Muslim to be elected to the U.S. Congress. Ellison also had the support of Bernie Sanders.
“What comprises the Democratic Party more is all minorities and what are they really doing for the minorities?” Schecnk said.
But some local Democrats said they found the post offensive and untrue.
“Those types of statements concern me because they are not building up our community … it is breaking our community down,” said Walter Jackson III, Scotland County Democratic Party chairman. “As a leader of the Scotland County Republican Party, I think you have to be very sensitive to the needs of our community and report adequately and accurately any ideas that stand for your party.”
Jan Schmidt, Scotland County Democratic Women’s president, disagreed that her party is not inclusive, adding that Perez is the first Latino to chair the Democratic National Committee.
“The Democratic Party does have a big tent and we want everybody to be included,” Schmidt said. “We might not have every one of those people in a position of power, but we feel that they are all equally represented.
“We are the party of human rights.”
Schecnk said he was only referring to the national party.
“I was a member of the NAACP in town for a long time and these people here are very good and they want to do what is best for the community,” he said. “They are all very sincere people that have good intentions and all, but when you get above that and get into the bigger hierarchy, they are there for the bucks and notoriety and loose your original honest intent.”
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