While the Asian Weekly certainly has a large focus on Seattle, we try as much as possible to embrace the Northwest community as well. However it is difficult to embrace offensive behavior, and it is a terrible shame to have one of Washington state’s city mayors making blatantly racist and offensive public comments (displayed through social media). Airway Heights Mayor Patrick Rushing has been under fire for his disturbing comments. Apologies and perhaps a new mayor are necessary, and it seems that will probably happen (at least the new mayor part). Apparently it has been announced the mayor has submitted his resignation, but not a formal apology.
So what exactly was the offense? The initial stir was over a Facebook post where Rushing stated:
“Gorilla face Michelle, can’t disagree with that. The woman is not attractive except to monkey man Barack. Check out them ears. LOL.”
No question a cringe-worthy comment. But it was uncovered there was a stream of offensive posts on his Facebook, ranging from comments about Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Hillary Clinton, and homosexuals.
According to the Pacific Northwest Inlander, the newspaper found what it said were at least 75 posts and reposts, including an image that suggests both the President and his wife should “hang for treason.” Another post stated the pilot of Air Force One could throw them and Oprah Winfrey off the plane while in flight. A number of Rushing’s online posts also attacked Democratic presidential candidate Clinton, gays, and immigrants. The list of vitriolic comments posted by a public official is clearly unprofessional and borders on a display of hate. Rushing’s Facebook page has now been removed.
When approached to resign, Rushing said in an interview with the Spokesman-Review, “If I do resign that’s admitting I’m a racist and I’m not.”
He also told local NBC station KHQ that the comments were just “playful back and forth banter that my friends and I do.”
The City Council approved a resolution last month that expressed no confidence in the mayor after he refused to resign despite posting the racist comments. Rushing initially refused, still contending he didn’t realize his comments were racist. However, he did submit his resignation this month, based on health issues, not due to the racist comments. The resignation will take effect Sept. 1.
While the resignation is a step, what would be even better is acknowledgement and a sincere apology. (end)