North Carolina GOP Official Resigns After Racist Remarks on ‘The Daily Show’
A precinct captain from North Carolina has resigned his position after using racially offensive phrases in an interview on The Daily Show about North Carolina's controversial voter ID laws.
Last month it was announced that the Justice Department would be filing suit against North Carolina for the new laws requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls, indicating that it violates the Voting Rights Act by discriminating against African-Americans. The law and resulting backlash caused controversy on both sides of the political spectrum, and recent comments from Buncombe GOP Precinct Captain Don Yelton just added fuel to the fire.
During his interview on The Daily Show, Yelton addressed the racist accusations of the NC voter ID law, affirming that he didn't believe the law was racist. When asked if he was racist, Yelton hesitated and admitted that he's been called a bigot but also noted that one of his best friends happens to be Black. Over the course of the interview Yelton mentioned that when he was young it was acceptable to call an African-American a "negro", referenced a political cartoon of President Obama as a witch doctor, and used the N-word in describing the double standard of acceptable use of the word by African-Americans. Later, when talking about the impact the voter ID laws would have on voters, Yelton said,
If it hurts a bunch of college kids that are too lazy to get off their bohunkus and get a photo ID, so be it. If it hurts the Whites, so be it. If it hurts a bunch of lazy blacks that wants the government to give them everything, so be it.
After the segment aired on Wednesday, the Buncombe GOP and the North Carolina GOP called for Yelton's resignation. In a press release, the Buncombe GOP called Yelton's statements, "offensive, uniformed, and unacceptable of any member within the Republican Party." Buncombe GOP Chairman Henry Mitchell said,
Let me make it very clear, Mr. Yelton's comments do not reflect the belief or feelings of Buncombe republicans, nor do they mirror any core principle that our party is founded upon.
This mentality will not be supported or propagated within our party.
Officials also noted that Yelton did not seek his party's approval before agreeing to the interview, and also noted that this isn't the first time Yelton had gone against the wishes of his party. According to the Buncombe GOP's statement, Yelton had been removed from his position once before for a time from 2012 to 2013, later being re-elected to his post by two votes, his and his wife's. Yelton has not expressed regret over his offensive comments, saying,
I've been laughed at by Democrats since I left the party. They try to make me look like a fool.
This is being picked up in Raleigh, across the state. They're trying to say, 'Look at this guy. He's racist.' The whole question isn't about racism.
While no one is denying that The Daily Show is designed to be as much entertainment as politics, it doesn't appear that Yelton's comments were taken out of context or even in dispute at this point. Do you feel he should have been made to step down over this?