Facebook post leads to calls for Va. GOP leader to step down

Chairman of the Virginia Republican Party John Whitbeck, speaks during the Virginia State Republican Convention in Harrisonburg, Va., Saturday, April 30, 2016. Whitbeck will be stepping down from the position in July. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
WASHINGTON — A Republican Party leader in Virginia is under fire after a social media post that others in his party called “bigoted.”

“Having a preference for Christians over non-Christians as political leaders is not bigoted. It is a preference and duty we are allowed,” a Facebook post by Fredy Burgos read. Burgos represents the 11th District, which includes Fairfax County, in the State Central Committee, the governing body of the Republican Party of Virginia.

The conservative blog Bearing Drift captured and posted Burgos’ comments. The blog has previously called for Burgos to step down from the State Central Committee for other comments he has been accused of making in the past.

Burgos included with his post an image and quote from John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

The post quickly drew criticism from other members of the Republican Party.

“I immediately contacted Mr. Burgos. I demanded he remove the post. I demanded he resign immediately from the Republican Party’s State Central Committee,” said Republican Party of Virginia Chairman John Whitbeck.

Whitbeck said on behalf of the GOP in Virginia that he denounces the comments and that he has the support of many other Republican leaders in the state in doing so.

“When statements like this are made, it is incredibly important for the party to make as strong a statement as possible against this kind of bigotry,” Whitbeck said.

U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock, a Republican who represents the 10th District, is also calling on Burgos to step down.

“Fredy Burgos and his bigoted, backward views have no place in the Republican party — the party of Lincoln and Reagan,” Comstock said in a statement.

On Sunday, in response to the backlash, Burgos took again to Facebook and accused other members of the GOP of attacking him for his Christian beliefs.

“To say that I am anti-Semitic is ignorant and wrong. The opposite is true,” the post on Burgos’ Facebook wall read.

Whitbeck said Burgos’ response shows that the committee member doesn’t understand how bad the statement was and why it was wrong to post.

“It’s an even a stronger case for why he should resign from the party immediately,” he said.

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Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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