Confederate Corey Stewart (R. VA)
Saying Corey Stewart has a “reputation for vitriolic rhetoric intended to fan the flames of racism,” the leaders of the local branch of the NAACP called Monday for him to resign as chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors.
During a pre-eclipse press conference at Prince William County’s James J. McCoart government center, Prince William NAACP President Cozy Bailey said Stewart’s comments since the deadly Charlottesville demonstration have been more supportive of white nationalists than of those protesting racism.
The Aug. 12 event led to three deaths, including that of Heather Heyer, 32, who was killed when an Ohio man with ties to white-supremacist groups drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, and two Virginia State Police troopers, who died when the helicopter they were using to monitor the protests crashed on the outskirts of town.
“While being careful to go on record that he detests neo-Nazis and members of the Klan who went to Charlottesville last weekend, [Stewart] continues to defend their message of hate by misclassifying it as an exercise of constitutionally-guaranteed free speech,” said Bailey, reading from a prepared statement.
“[Stewart’s] history of appealing to such groups through euphemisms like ‘preserving our history’ and ‘heritage’ only serves to further embolden them,” Bailey continued. “Mr. Stewart has an irrefutable track record of vitriolic rhetoric intended to fan the flames of racism that unfortunately still burn in many.”
If Stewart “cannot be a leader for all people, I suggest that it’s time for him to step down,” Bailey added.
When asked if the local NAACP branch is calling for Stewart’s resignation, Bailey replied: “In a word, yes.”
Still, Bailey, a retired U.S. Marine Corps colonel and ordained minister, said he did not expect Stewart would heed the group’s advice. He further noted Stewart would likely dismiss him as a “radical left-winger” who is “out of touch with the community.”
“But I will say to him that I am more in touch with the community … than he has ever been in his entire elected life,” he added of Stewart.
Hopefully when he loses his race to U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D. VA) he won’t be serving as chairman anymore. Speaking of which, Kaine offered an interesting alternative when it comes to replacing Confederate statues Stewart is so adamant about protecting:
Sen. Tim Kaine, the Democrats’ vice presidential nominee last year, suggested Sunday his home state should take a broader view of history when deciding which of its citizens are honored with statues in the U.S. Capitol.
Each state is allowed to place two statues amid the marbled columns of the Capitol’s Statuary Hall. Virginia is represented by statues of George Washington, the nation’s first president, and Robert E. Lee, a general who commanded Confederate troops during the Civil War.
But Kaine said Virginia could do better.
“I think as you look at the scope of Virginia history here in 2017, and if you want there to be two people to really stand for who Virginia is, why wouldn’t you think about Pocahontas who, had she not saved John Smith’s life, we wouldn’t even be here possibly?” Kaine said during an appearance on CBS’s Face the Nation.
Or, Kaine asked, why not Barbara Johns Powell? She was a 16-year-old student when she led her Prince Georges County classmates in a walkout for equality. The demonstration eventually led to a lawsuit that became part of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Brown vs. Board of Education decision that ended school desegregation.
Or maybe, Kaine said, the state should honor former Gov. Douglas Wilder, the grandson of slaves and the first elected African-American governor in the nation’s history.
I’m a big fan of this idea but who knows if they’ll go with through with it. In the mean time, let’s make sure Kaine is ready to beat this Confederate, Neo-Nazi sympathizer. Click here to donate and get involved with Kaine’s re-election campaign.