A county precinct chairman in North Carolina has been forced to resign after declaring on national television that nobody cares if a bunch of "lazy blacks" and Democratic voters are hurt by the state's new voter identification law.
Don Yelton, a Buncombe County precinct head was pushed out by Republican leaders for the racially insensitive remarks, which he made during a segment aired Wednesday night on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with John Stewart" focusing on Republican efforts to enact new voter ID laws.
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According to Raleigh television station WRAL
, Yelton, a member of the state party executive committee, acknowledged during the interview at one point that the GOP-sponsored law was intended to keep traditionally Democratic voters away from the polls.
"If it hurts a bunch of lazy blacks that want the government to give them everything, so be it," Yelton told Daily Show correspondent Aasif Mandvi.
He also said the law would "kick the Democrats in the butt," and added: "If it hurts a bunch of college kids [that are] too lazy to get up off their bohonkas and go get a photo ID, so be it. If it hurts a bunch of whites, so be it."
Buncombe Country GOP Chairman Henry Mitchell moved quickly to distance the state and national party from Yelton's comments, calling them "offensive, uniformed, and unacceptable of any member within the Republican Party," WRAL reported.
"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," Mitchell reportedly said in a press release. "This mentality will not be supported or propagated within our party."
State Republican Party Chairman Claude Pope joined with Mitchell in insisting Yelton step down. In a posting on the party's Facebook page
, Pope described Yelton's comments as "highly offensive" and said he would initiate a process to remove him if he refused to resign his position.
During the interview, Yelton continued to make a number of controversial remarks, at one point prompting Mandvi to ask, "You know we can hear you?"
Still, Yelton kept on, denying that he was a racist. "As a matter of fact, one of my best friends is black," he said. But he confessed to Mandvi that he had been "called a bigot before" for speaking his mind.
In an interview Friday with the Asheville Mountain Xpress newspaper
, Yelton was unbowed by the condemnations of his fellow Republicans. "The comments that were made, that I said, I stand behind them," he said. "I believe them."
To further emphasize that point, he expressed disappointment about not being interviewed live and that many of his other remarks were edited out.
"There were a lot of things I said that they could've made sound worse than what they put up," he said. I would've loved to been able to do it live . . . But that wasn't offered."
Yelton also said he knew what he was getting into by agreeing to appear on Stewart's satirical news program. He said he wasn't sure why he was contacted by the show's producers, but guessed that it might have something to do with Facebook posting he did commenting on President Barack Obama's race.
"Everybody and their brother told me, 'They're going to make fun of you,'" he told the Asheville newspaper. "I don't think we can run from the people that disagree with us. If you're not willing to talk to people you disagree with, then you're never going to accomplish anything. So that's why I agreed to take the interview."
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