Washington County GOP Faces Social Media Backlash
A comment published under the Washington County Republican Central Committee’s official Facebook handle called for “burning BLM [Black Lives Matter] and ANTIFA flags” and “painting over any of their slogans, and meeting them head on.”
The explosive Facebook comment was published Friday under a Washington County GOP Facebook thread.
The post accused Democrats and the Black Lives Matter movement, without evidence, of vandalizing a statue erected to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. The vandalized Lee statue sits at the Antietam National Battlefield in Sharpsburg, Md.
“Unfortunately (sic) now Washington County Maryland will get National News (sic)coverage as the latest target of BLM vandalism: They got one of the statues at Antietam Battlefield last evening. These tolerant democrats (sic) are out to destroy America’s History (sic) and cancel OUR culture. This is vile, and disgusting!” the post reads.
The incendiary post garnered intense social media backlash over the last 24 hours.
As of Saturday afternoon, however, the comment was deleted; a statement of condemnation was also published to the group’s Facebook page.
“Yesterday a [member] of the Washington County Republican Central Committee posted a comment through the Committee’s Facebook page on a post that garnered widespread condemnation,” the post read in part.
“That post does not represent the view of the majority of the committee and the comment was immediately removed,” wrote Jerry DeWolf, the chairman of the Washington County Republican Central Committee.
DeWolf said the now-deleted post does not represent Washington County’s Republican Party and its organization does not “condone violence of any kind.”
GOP Chairman Dummying Up
A Miner Detail emailed DeWolf Saturday, requesting the name of the central committee member responsible for publishing the post as well as the names of committee members with posting privileges.
DeWolf has not responded to A Miner Detail’s request for comment, nor did he respond to an additional question about whether the committee plans to take action in response to the committee member’s post.
Washington County’s Republican central committee’s website lists the following committee members: Jerry DeWolf (chairman); Seth Wilson (1st vice-chairman); Ginger Bigelow (2nd vice-chairman); Randy Leatherman (secretary); Marilee Kerns (treasurer); Robert Breeding; Darrell Evans; Ray Foltz, Sr. and Brian Tana.
State GOP responds
A representative from the Maryland Republican Party’s executive board spoke on background with A Miner Detail Saturday, referring to the post as “horrible,” “disgusting” and “inappropriate.”
“No excuse,” the state GOP party leader said.
UPDATE: July 18, 2020, 9:14 p.m.
Washington County Republican Central Committee Member Raymond “Ray” E. Foltz has taken responsibility for the Facebook comment that called for violence against the Black Lives Matter movement and ANTIFA.
Foltz confirmed in an email to A Miner Detail he posted the comment.
An online biography lists Foltz as the current president of the Washington County Republican Club. The same website says Foltz worked in finance in both the public and private sectors, having retired in 2011 from the City of Hagerstown.