MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Minnesota Republican Party is apologizing for an anti-Muslim Facebook post by a party official attacking Democratic Congressman Keith Ellison.
The offensive post featured racist, off-color comments and an image of Ellison, who is Muslim and black, and was posted on the party’s official 7th Congressional District Facebook page. The Facebook post was up for several hours last night before it was deleted.
Now, the newly elected Chair of the Minnesota Republican Party says the official who wrote it has resigned– at her request.
The Facebook post showed Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison posing with a shotgun and a turkey on a hunting trip with fellow Democratic Congressman Collin Peterson. It called Ellison the “Head Muslim Goat Humper,” and slammed Peterson for “sliding up” to him.
The message drew a swift rebuke from the new Minnesota Republican Party Chair Jennifer Carnahan, who called the image “repugnant” and demanded the immediate resignation of the Republican official who posted it.
“I don’t condone that behavior,” said Carnahan, who was elected as the Minnesota Republican Party Chair on Saturday. “I have a zero tolerance policy for any hate speech or things that can be construed as racism. It was repugnant behavior that is not representative of our party or our values.”
Ellison is the first Muslim elected to Congress, and is Deputy Chair of the National Democratic Party. The Facebook post mocked him and Peterson as “hunting buddies” and asked: “Does that mean Muslim refugees coming to western Minnesota?”
“It’s really despicable,” said Minnesota’s Democratic Party Chair Ken Martin.
Martin praised his Republican counterpart for taking quick action, but he said he has seen an increase in “threatening behavior and fear mongering” since Donald Trump’s election.
“We’ve seen a spike in hate crimes and hate speech around the country, and frankly in this state,” Martin said. “It’s targeted at immigrants and it’s targeted at Muslims and certainly it starts at the top.”
Congressman Collin Peterson, who represents the 7th Congressional District, did not respond to a request for an interview.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Minnesota said it “welcomes” the apology from the Republican Party Chair.
CAIR said in a statement: “This post is both an example of the Islamophobia that pervades our political discourse and a good example of how responsible leaders can shut it down and make it unacceptable.”
On Tuesday, Ellison thanked Martin on Twitter for “denouncing hate” in his statement:
— Rep. Keith Ellison (@keithellison) May 2, 2017
Ellison was the first Muslim lawmaker elected to the U.S. Congress. He is currently serving in the House of Representatives and as the deputy chair of the National Democratic Committee.