A new member of Virginia’s Republican State Central Committee apologized over the weekend for posting anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant rhetoric on Twitter and Facebook — much of which echoed incendiary comments by presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.
Burke resident Fredy Burgos, an ardent Trump supporter who was elected to the committee in May, called Islam a “death cult organized by Satan,” compared Muslims to Nazis and said “immigration control from Islamic countries is a must.” He labeled Muhammad Ali a “racist black supremacist” and adopted Trump’s controversial criticism of the Mexican heritage of U.S.-born District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, asking on Twitter, “Isn’t this Judge an ‘Anchor Baby’?”
After the state party chairman, John Whitbeck, told Burgos he did not approve of the comments, Burgos deleted them and apologized. In interviews, several members of the committee condemned what Burgos had written…Still, the incident highlights the challenges Virginia Republicans face as they seek to expand their base in a way that could help Trump capture the White House this fall and increase the chances for the election of a Republican governor in 2017.
On the one hand, Trump’s campaign — including his calls to deport all undocumented immigrants and ban many Muslims from the country — has energized Republicans frustrated by illegal immigration and resentful of changing demographics in such places as Northern Virginia. On the other, such rhetoric can alienate potential GOP voters in the swing state, especially those who are ethnic or religious minorities.
“When you use blanket terms like ‘Nazi,’ it just diminishes the value of the discussion,” said Jim Hoeft, editor in chief of the Bearing Drift conservative blog, which condemned Burgos’s comments in an editorial last week. At the same time, Hoeft said he thinks Trump is tapping into frustrations felt by many Virginia Republicans and has become “a voice of what they have been wanting to express for a very long time.” In the apology he posted online, Burgos said his words were “misconstrued,” but added that the state party needs “my diverse perspective, rough edges and all.”
Source: The Washington Post