Newark Mayor Corey Booker’s (D) Republican opponent in the New Jersey Senate race said over the weekend that he was “not apologizing” and “not backing off” after a staffer sent a racially-charged tweet.
During a televised debate last week, Republican Senate candidate Steve Lonegan’s Twitter account posted a message that said, “just leaked — Cory Booker’s foreign policy debate prep notes.”
Included with the tweet, was a map of the predominately African-American city of Newark and the words “West Africa, Guyana, Portugal, Brazil” and “Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan, plus Bangladesh and Trinidad.”
Speaking at a cookout on Saturday, Lonegan insisted that there was “no racist intent at all.”
“There’s no racism in my campaign, and there never will be,” he said. “My policies are to support all Americans and provide an economic environment where everyone can prosper, regardless of skin color.”
Although the campaign had quickly deleted the tweet after sending it out, Lonegan told WCBS that he was not backing down.
“I’m not apologizing, I’m not backing off, I’m not making excuses, and I’m not going to be intimidated by these people,” he remarked. “I think Americans are sick and tired of the race card being used everyday and every time there’s an argument you’re a racist. That’s not the case. There was no such intent.”
At a barbecue campaign event on Sunday, the Republican candidate told reporters that it was “time to move on,” and that he was not going to fire the staffer that made the “mistake.”
“That’s what they want – to sacrifice someone on the altar of political correctness,” Lonegan argued. The kid was doing what he was thought was funny. He didn’t look at it as being racist at all. I said, ‘first of all, I don’t want any funny, clever stuff on my campaign.’”
“We’ll move on. I’m going to be get back to the issues of Obamacare, the NSA, the IRS.”
Watch this audio from WCBS, uploaded Aug. 10, 2013.