The Chisago County Republican Party drew national attention Wednesday after posting an illustration of a slave auction with the caption, “Pro Choice: Against Slavery? Don’t buy one.”
The illustration mimics a slogan about abortion sometimes seen on pro-choice bumper stickers.
The group removed the Facebook post from its page early Wednesday afternoon, and then removed its page entirely a few hours later.
But the county GOP later restored its Facebook page, with an apology.
“The Chisago County Republican Party is very sorry that something so clearly improper (either intended or in poor taste) ever made it to our page,” said the post signed by the group’s executive committee. “Postings like this are not representative of our party.”
The state’s Democratic Party chairman, Ken Martin, asked his Republican counterpart to repudiate the post.
“I find the reference to slavery disgusting and reprehensible,” Martin said in a statement. “How can a party work so hard to sell themselves as multi-cultural and welcoming to others when their leadership approves and publicizes racist photos to make a point?”
Minnesota’s GOP chairman, Keith Downey, said he agreed with Martin but pointed out the Facebook page had many authorized users, although the local site owner was working to restrict access to the official page.
But the state’s Republican Party secretary, Chris Fields, said he wasn’t bothered by the post, saying he found “absolutely nothing offensive about that (Facebook) post.”
Fields said that as a black man he found slavery reprehensible but saw the post as a reminder that the Republican Party was founded in 1854 as an abolitionist party at a time when the Democratic Party supported slavery.
“I’m not going to condemn that posting,” Fields said, although he said the post could have benefitted from additional explanation.
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