The head of South Carolina's Republican Party will not ask two county GOP leaders to resign after authoring a newspaper editorial that praises Sen. Jim DeMint for being like a "Jew" who is "watching our nation's pennies."
The letter appeared in Sunday's edition of the South Carolina newspaper The Times and Democrat, and was authored by James S. Ulmer Jr., who chairs the Orangeburg County GOP, and Edwin O. Merwin Jr., who chairs the Bamberg County GOP.
"There is a saying that the Jews who are wealthy got that way not by watching dollars, but instead by taking care of the pennies and the dollars taking care of themselves," they wrote. "By not using earmarks to fund projects for South Carolina and instead using actual bills, DeMint is watching our nation’s pennies and trying to preserve our country’s wealth and our economy’s viability to give all an opportunity to succeed."
Both Ulmer and Merwin have issued statements of apology.
According to South Carolina newspaper The State, Ulmer said in an e-mail he was repeating something he'd "... heard many times in my life, truly in admiration for a method of bettering one's lot in life. I admit that perception is indeed reality to many and that I could have certainly worded that sentence much better. I sincerely apologize for this great error.
He added that he "meant absolutely nothing derogatory by the reference to a great and honorable people."
Merwin's statement said he wished "to deeply apologize for any material included in that letter that would be considered anti-Semitic in any way.” He said he has "always abhorred in the past, and shall continue to do so in the future, anti-Semitism in any form what so ever."
One of South Carolina's two Jewish lawmakers called on state GOP Chairwoman Karen Floyd to denounce the comments and remove both men from their positions.
The Associated Press and the South Carolina newspaper The State reported Tuesday that Floyd had denounced the comments made by Ulmer and Merwin in their letter but would not ask them to step down over the incident.
"It was an offensive and inappropriate comment that Jim and Edwin have rightly apologized for. These kinds of stereotypes are absolutely unacceptable” Floyd said in a statement Tuesday morning. “It goes without saying that some people will continue trying to exploit this mistake for political gain, but as far as we're concerned, their apology ends the matter."
As Raw Story reported Monday, Merwin and Ulmer's original letter was intended to be a rebuttal to South Carolina State Rep. Bakari Sellers, the vice chair of the state's Democratic party.
Sellers had suggested in an opinion piece published Sept. 30 that DeMint has been doing a poor job bringing in federal dollars for projects in South Carolina.
"Sen. DeMint cedes his funding allotments to other states by not requesting projects on behalf of South Carolinians," Sellers opined. "Like Sen. DeMint, Sen. Graham regularly supports measures to restrict earmarks. However, he works vigorously to secure funding for South Carolina because he understands the present reality: If we don't get it, it goes to other states."