Democrats in South Carolina are calling for an apology over comments GOP Gov. Henry McMaster made during Saturday’s South Carolina Republican Party Convention.
According to The State reporter Joseph Bustos, McMaster said, “I look forward to the day that Democrats are so rare we have to hunt them with dogs.”
In a 2018 event in Anderson, McMaster also compared Democrats to “dogs.”
In an emailed response to the Greenville News, McMaster’s communications director, Brandon Charochak, said the governor meant the comment as a joke.
“Governor McMaster has been making this joke at GOP conventions for years, and everyday South Carolinians understand that it’s a joke,” Charochak said. “If South Carolina Democrat partisans can no longer bear lighthearted jokes made at their expense, then maybe they should focus their energy on winning and not whining.”
‘Racially-tinged dog whistle’
Chris Salley, chair of the Anderson County Democratic Party, said in a statement: “Yesterday, Governor Henry McMaster threatened me, my family, and thousands of other Anderson County residents who are Democrats when he said he looks forward to the day he can ‘hunt us with dogs.'”
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“If the Governor is not willing to apologize and retract this racially-tinged dog whistle, Anderson County Democrats join the Charleston County Democratic Party in asking the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) to open an investigation into this threat and incitement of political violence,” Salley added. “The Democratic Party stands for a SC where no one is above the law and expects the same of SLED and our Governor.”
The Charleston County Democratic Party also released a statement after McMaster’s comments:
“We cannot continue to normalize threats of political violence from the leadership of the Republican Party. If the governor does not retract and apologize, SC State Law Enforcement Division should investigate this threat.”
Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison also criticized the South Carolina governor over his comments, tweeting: “This is today’s GOP folks. This ain’t shocking. It simply illustrates who we are dealing with as we fight to protect our Democracy.”
This article originally appeared on Greenville News: Democrats want SC governor’s apology after ‘hunt them with dogs’ jab