Members of a local Texas Democratic Party said they won’t accept the resignation of their leader after thinking it over days after he made a racially disparaging comment about South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott on the heels of his rebuttal to President Joe Biden’s speech last month to a joint session of Congress.
Last week, Lamar County Democratic Party Chairman Gary O’Connor faced immediate and significant backlash after he called Scott an “Oreo” — a racist phrase used to disparage a black person who is perceived as ‘acting’ white — in a since-deleted Facebook post.
“I had hoped that Scott might show some common sense, but it seems clear he is little more than an oreo with no real principles,” O’Connor wrote.
Rep. Pat Fallon (R-Texas), whose district encompasses Lamar County located in the northeastern part of the state, blasted O’Connor for making an “unforgivable” comment for which he should resign.
“Gary O’Connor’s comment against Senator Tim Scott is abhorrent, insulting, and unforgivable. Both he and the entire Lamar County Democratic Party should be ashamed of this racist behavior,” said the freshman lawmaker.
Fallon said O’Connor should “apologize and step down immediately” as head of the county Democratic Party while also pressing the state party leadership and the NAACP “to condemn these words.”
“This kind of behavior is not tolerable in Texas, the United States, or any political party,” he noted further.
Gov. Greg Abbott also blasted O’Connor. “This is disgusting, hateful, and completely unacceptable. O’Connor must apologize to @SenatorTimScott & step down immediately.” Abbott tweeted Saturday. “@texasdemocrats censure him.”
Texas State GOP Chairman Allen West, who is black, ripped O’Connor as well as his party.
In a video posted to Twitter, West — a retired Army lieutenant colonel and former U.S. representative from Florida — said he was “sick and tired of the duplicitous hypocrisy of the true party of racism,” adding he was going to send Lamar County Democrats a package of Oreo cookies.
I have a gift — and a message — for #LamarCountyDemocrats Chair Gary O'Connor, and the @texasdemocrats. pic.twitter.com/9q9d3ntRY7
— Allen West (@AllenWest) May 4, 2021
“Until this guy resigns, I am going to stand up and speak out against the party of systemic racism,” West added. “The party of the soft bigotry of low expectations.”
On Tuesday, however, O’Connor did offer to step down while also sending an apology to Scott.
“I am deeply and sincerely sorry for my inappropriate and hurtful use of the racist term I used to describe Sen. Tim Scott on my personal Facebook page. It was insensitive, and I have embarrassed myself and my party by its use,” he said in a statement.
“As a result, I feel compelled to offer my resignation as chair of the Lamar County Democratic Party for consideration by the County Executive Committee,” he added.
O’Connor also crafted a letter of apology to the South Carolina Republican, the Texas Tribune reported.
But according to the outlet, Lamar County Democrats met to discuss the issue and O’Connor’s resignation on Tuesday, ultimately deciding not to accept it while also trying to claim they oppose “bigotry.”
“Lamar County Democrats recommit ourselves to conduct our private conversations and our public social media discussions with anti-racist, pro-reconciling attitudes and language,” the party said in a statement. “We strongly condemn bigotry of any kind and will continue our historic efforts to work for justice and equality for all our fellow citizens.”
Scott was roundly condemned by Democrats and left-wing pundits, especially those of color, for declaring in his rebuttal, “Hear me clearly: America is not a racist country.”
In a later appearance on Fox News with host Sean Hannity, Scott sounded a similar note as West in pointing out what he views as Democratic hypocrisy.
“It is really saddening to see that what the left is doing is fighting bigotry with bigotry,” he said. “They have exposed their hypocrisy and their true motivation.”
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