WASHINGTON – Minnesota Republican Party officials have fired a volunteer with the Seventh Congressional District GOP who tweeted a comment from an official social media account that was criticized as racist and bigoted.
GOP Chairman Keith Downey would not comment on the incident, but said via Twitter that he is imposing a social media moratorium on the district.
“My apologies to all for their posts,” Downey said via Twitter.
The initial Twitter comment came after DFL Senate leaders said they favored adding measures to help low-income black Minnesotans in a special legislative session proposed to extend jobless benefits to laid-off Iron Range steelworkers.
The tweet read: “MN #DFL now propose a ‘special session’ to deal with their self-created ‘#negroproblem’ ”
It linked to a Facebook message that was also removed.
The Twitter comment came during tense protests outside Fourth Precinct police headquarters in north Minneapolis, where demonstrators have erected an encampment for the past week to protest the fatal shooting of a black man, Jamar Clark, 24, by a white officer.
Minnesota DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin asked the GOP to apologize for the Twitter comment.
“There is absolutely no place for this kind of ugly language in our state,” Martin said in a statement. “We call on Chairman Downey to apologize to the people of Minnesota for the racist and bigoted comment.”
Members of the GOP executive committee for the district, including chairman Craig Bishop and Deputy Chairwoman Barb Chervastad, did not return calls for comment.
The Seventh District, represented by Democratic U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, spreads across much of western Minnesota, including Moorhead, Fergus Falls and Alexandria
Political organizations have used Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms to stir passions of supporters and antagonize critics. No political party has been immune from the risks of taking issues and spats public through social media.
Earlier in the week, a biting and testy feud erupted between two DFLers over the struggles facing the steelworkers and the members of Black Lives Matter converging in north Minneapolis after the shooting.
State Rep. Carly Melin, DFL-Hibbing, took to Twitter to ask about the condition of the woman whose assault led to the man’s fatal confrontation with police.
Javier Morillo-Alicea, president of SEIU Local 26 and a well-connected DFL activist, accused Melin of spreading “lies” and disparaging protesters.
Melin hit back: “I never once maligned the protesters. You completely distorted my concern for a [domestic violence] victim to advance your personal position.”
Another Twitter user jumped in, saying Melin’s statements showed why the “traditional White DFL has to go” and that they are no better than Republicans.
Staff writer Ricardo Lopez contributed to this report.
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