Political News

New Mexico GOP official quits after slamming 'violent leftist' protesters

Posted August 15, 2017 5:27 p.m. EDT

A local New Mexico Republican Party leader resigned Tuesday after publishing a Facebook post criticsizing "'violent, leftist protesters," the day after a woman was killed when clashes erupted at a right-wing rally.

Heather Heyer died Saturday when a car rammed into a crowd walking down a street after white nationalists and other right-wing groups clashed with counterprotesters over the planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a city park in Charlottsville, Virginia.

Do-a Ana County Republican Party Chairman Roman Jimenez took to the group's official Facebook page on Sunday to publish a post saying "violent, leftist protesters" are "getting exactly what they asked for."

Jimenez is a retired police officer who was elected chairman earlier this year. His post prompted sharp rebukes online -- and on Tuesday the party announced that it had accepted his resignation.

'A segregated society of groups'

Jimenez's post read:

"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."

The post has since been deleted.

The Facebook page on which it appeared was also taken down and later resurfaced with a post announcing Jimenez's resignation. It named Victor Contreras as interim chairman. The post includes a statement from Contreras, which says "there is no room for bigotry, racism or hate in our country."

Neither Jimenez nor the Do-a Ana Republican Party has answered CNN's numerous requests for comment.

But Dominic Pacheco, communications director of the Republican Party of New Mexico, told CNN that the party "takes a firm stand against hate," and said the party's "thoughts and prayers are with the Charlottesville victims and families during this hard time."

State GOP Chairman Ryan Cangiolosi issued a statement echoing Pacheco's words. "The Republican Party of New Mexico fully repudiates the statement made by Roman Jimenez, which does not reflect the views of the Republican Party of New Mexico or the Republican Party of Do-a Ana County," the statement said.

Democrats: Republicans 'doubled down on racism'

The Democratic Party of Do-a Ana published a post on their Facebook page saying it was "disappointing that the Do-a Ana Republicans have taken a racist and hateful stance in light of the violence in Charlottesville."

And the Democratic Party of New Mexico posted that "Do-a Ana Republicans doubled down on racism and hate in light of the violence in Charlottesville. New Mexico is a multicultural state that takes pride in diversity -- the Republicans' post has no place in our country, much less our state."

Felicia Salazar, communications director for the Democratic Party of New Mexico, told CNN that "while the New Mexico GOP was managing the fact their official posted blatantly racist rhetoric, New Mexico Democrats were attending vigils, condemning violence and taking a stand against violence fueled by bigotry."