August 13, 2017

A day after Charlottesville white supremacist rally, county GOP chair blames ‘leftists,’ ‘Soros’ for violence

After a white supremacist rally in Virginia, during which a woman was killed and over a dozen people injured, a Republican Party county chairman lashed out at “leftists” and George Soros.

A now-deleted statement on the Facebook page of the Doña Ana Republican Party attributed to chairman Roman Jimenez blamed “leftist protesters” for violence and said “they’re getting exactly what they asked for.”

Republican Party of New Mexico chairman Ryan Cangiolosi said on Twitter he “fully repudiates Jimenez’s statement, which does not reflect the views of the RPNM or the Repub Party of Doña Ana County.”

Here is the full statement from Jimenez:

These violent, leftist protesters are the brainless robots that are created by evil Soros money. The white ones have been taught to hate their color, the women are taught to hate men, black and minorities want to kill whites and police. They then have the audacity to call conservatives racist. Their own racism, hate and violence has created the divide amongst those that refuse to be bullied on anymore. They’re getting exactly what they asked for. A segregated society of groups that they’ve created and even labeled themselves.

A representative from the county party said in the comments of the post, after many criticized the comment, that it was not in response to the violence in Charlottesville.

“This has nothing to do with the Charlotte [sic] riots,” the comment said. “I’m speaking about leftist violence across the country. Murder by Anyone is inexcusable.”

Later, he wrote, “Of course I condemn white supremacists and any associated violence. Just like the left to get all riled up and violent over something taken completely out of context.”

After this, the post was removed from the party’s Facebook page.

Jimenez’s statement was a stark contrast to what other New Mexico Republicans had to say.

Gov. Susana Martinez was among those who denounced the violence in Virginia.

She called it a “cowardly attack” according to the Associated Press.

The Republican Party of New Mexico wrote on Facebook Saturday, “Our prayers are with the Charlottesville community, and the individual who lost her life to the violence. RPNM will never stand for hate of any kind. Let’s stand united against these kinds of acts.”

In the comments of the Republican Party of New Mexico Facebook post, Jimenez claimed the driver of the car that killed one woman and injured nearly 20 more was a “liberal antifa.”

Some of those on the so-called alt-right, an offshoot of conservatism mixing racism, white nationalism and populism, blamed Joel Vangheluwe for the attack before police released the name of the driver and described him as antifa. Police said 20-year old James Alex Fields Jr. was the driver of the car.

U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, the lone Republican in the state’s federal delegation, released a statement condemning the attacks on Sunday. New Mexico’s two senators and two other representatives all condemned the attacks.

“The car attack by a white supremacist in Charlottesville yesterday was an act of terrorism, plain and simple,” Pearce said. “This violence and hatred has no place in our communities. I condemn this act and any like it.”

Following news of the woman’s death, after she was struck and killed by Fields, President Donald Trump failed to specifically denounce white supremacists. Trump’s tepid reaction Saturday, in which he condemned bigotry and violence “on many sides,” was widely criticized and eventually caused the White House to try to clarify his remarks. On Sunday, the White House finally issued a statement specifically condemning white supremacists.

White supremacists rallying in the Virginia college town clashed with anti-racism protesters.

Police charged the Ohio man, Fields, with second-degree murder after driving into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing Heather Heyer and injuring 19 more. The 32-year old woman was among those protesting against the white supremacists.

Fields had been pictured with members of Vanguard America, a white supremacist group that frequently appears at rallies. Yesterday, the FBI also announced it has opened a civil rights investigation into Fields.

Two Virginia state troopers also died when their helicopter crashed en route to monitoring the protests.

Update: Added statement by Steve Pearce.

Update: Added response by Ryan Cangiolosi.