The Philadelphia GOP today responded to racist activity taking place at Penn by condemning “hateful activity” while also writing that there are “undoubtedly” racist supporters of President-elect Donald Trump.
There’s been a spate of hate crimes and racist activity in Philadelphia and across the country following the presidential election. A Penn, Trump’s alma mater, black freshmen students were last week added to a GroupMe titled “Nigger Lynching” that contained other racist group messages. Penn officials have traced the behavior to Oklahoma and say no Penn students were involved in the group’s creation.
There have also been several instances of graffiti and vandalism across Philadelphia. Gov. Tom Wolf, Mayor Jim Kenney and Penn president Amy Gutmann all condemned the racist activity, but the Philadelphia Republican party had been largely silent on the issue until today.
In a lengthy statement issued by Philly GOP executive director Joe DeFelice, the party said it can’t stand for “racism or oppression of any kind,” but also suggested “perhaps something is wrong with the media narrative that lumps all dissent from ‘progressive’ values in with the most virulent racists.”
It also said there are “undoubtedly” some racist supporters of Trump, but there are also “undoubtedly” people who voted for Hillary Clinton who “spit on the flag and justify violence against police officers as a political tool.”
Prior to releasing a full statement, the party tweeted that the activity at Penn was “reprehensible,” but didn’t appear to believe it needed to release a statement condemning the incidents.
That changed Monday. Here’s the statement in its entirety:
“We have heard worries about an uptick in hateful activity after this extremely divisive election. Any violence towards somebody because of who they are or who they are perceived to be is wrong, and we condemn it. We must remain vigilant.
“In our city Republican party we have Ward Leaders who are members of the African American, Latino, Asian, Muslim, Jewish and LGBT communities. Our supporters and voters are diverse and come from every ward in the city. Our party is made up of these people – so how could we, on the whole, stand for racism or oppression of any kind? Moreover, let’s remember this: despite the media narrative that Trump’s campaign was entirely racist, he improved his vote counts among Latino, Black and Asian-American voters. Perhaps something is wrong with the media narrative that lumps all dissent from ‘progressive’ values in with the most virulent racists. Maybe it’s the same reason why nobody in the media accurately predicted a Trump win – because they’re more focused on narratives than on reality. If we can learn one thing from this election it’s that people with well-thought-out, unprejudiced political views are tired of being branded as oppressors by progressives with no empathy and a penchant for hyperbole.
“People voted for Trump because they have been left out during the Obama years. They admire his willingness to address tough issues that affect our country, such as illegal immigration, which have previously been branded ‘off limits’. They see America’s place in the world shrinking and heard a candidate of the left who promised more of the same. They hear intense derision and condescension from the mainstream media and the progressive elite. They were appalled by the lack of transparency and corruption of the Clintons. Are some people that voted for Donald Trump racist? Undoubtedly. Do some people that voted for Hillary (or Bernie in the primary) spit on the flag and justify violence against police officers as a political tool, as examples? Also, undoubtedly. The media needs to be careful that they’re holding everybody accountable, and not just conservatives, for extremism that exists at the fringe of every political movement.
“The Philadelphia Republican Party opposes the one-party rule that has held back our city for decades, and is dedicated to building a more diverse and inclusive party. Contrary to the media narratives we’ve heard, we believe our President-Elect will actually be helpful in that regard.”