North Carolina GOP precinct chair resigns after racial remarks on Daily Show

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DON YELTON

 

by Ashley Killough

(CNN) — The GOP precinct chair of Buncombe County in North Carolina resigned Thursday after the state’s Republican Party called for his resignation following his interview on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” in which he made racially charged remarks and said North Carolina’s new voter ID laws will “kick the Democrats in the butt.”

Don Yelton stepped down from his post in an interview on Asheville radio station WWNC.

“I resign my position as precinct chair. Gladly. I’ll give it up. To heck with it, I don’t want to be part of a group that is that mealy-mouthed and that gutless,” he said.

It all began when Yelton’s interview on Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” aired Wednesday night. The satirical news show did a segment on North Carolina’s new voter ID requirements that Republican Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law in August.

“The law is going to kick the Democrats in the butt,” Yelton said. “If it hurts a bunch of college kids too lazy to get up off their bohonkas and go get a photo ID, so be it. If it hurts the Whites, so be it.”

“If it hurts a bunch of lazy Blacks that want the government to give them everything, so be it,” he added.

While Yelton said in the interview he’s “been called a bigot before,” he argued in his defense that one of his best friends is Black.

North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Claude Pope swiftly called for Yelton’s resignation.

“The North Carolina Republican Party finds the comments made by Mr. Yelton to be completely inappropriate and highly offensive,” Pope said in a statement, adding that Yelton “does not speak for either the Buncombe County Republican Party or the North Carolina Republican Party.”

Yelton told CNN affiliate WLOS on Thursday that he stands by his comments and brushed off any criticism.

“We can’t avoid these issues. We need to bring them up and talk about them,” he added.

On the radio show, Yelton went on to blast political correctness and reject the idea that he was hurting his party’s efforts at appealing to a wider audience or misrepresenting the GOP’s reasons for backing voter ID laws.

“They’re a bunch of chickens,” he said, referring to Republicans who disagree with his approach. “I’m embarrassed for the fact that they don’t stand up and fight for what’s right.”

Yelton said he doesn’t regret any of the statements he made on the “Daily Show” and adamantly contended he was not a racist.

“I am not racist, never have been, and the ability of the local people and the media and the outlets to twist this into a racist issue shows exactly how willing the people are to be taken advantage of,” he said.

CNN reached out to Yelton Friday morning, but he did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In September, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit to block parts of the new North Carolina law, which requires voters to have a photo ID, shortens early voting, eliminates same-day voter registration during early voting and restricts the counting of some provisional ballots.

This summer the Supreme Court struck down a Voting Rights Act requirement for North Carolina and other states with a history of discrimination to get permission from the Justice Department or a federal judge before enacting voting law changes.

The high court’s decision gave the states the green light to proceed with voter ID laws, which critics say disproportionately affect minorities, while opponents say the regulations prevent voter fraud.

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