The Democrat party has removed one candidate from consideration in the battle to become the next chair of the Democrat National Committee.
Former Arkansas House candidate Vincent Tolliver was removed from the next DNC forum after it was revealed that he told The Hill he believed Rep. Keith Ellison ought to not be allowed to run for the seat because he is a Muslim.
“His being a Muslim is precisely why DNC voters should not vote for him,” Tolliver wrote in an email to The Hill on Jan. 5. “Muslims discriminate against gays. Islamic law is clear on the subject, and being gay is a direct violation of it. In some Muslim countries, being gay is a crime punishable by death.”
“Clearly, Mr. Ellison is not the person to lead the DNC or any other organization committed to not discriminating based on gender identity or sexual orientation,” he added. “I’m shocked HRC [Human Rights Campaign] has been silent on the issue. A vote for Representative Ellison by any member of the DNC would be divisive and unconscionable, not to mention counterproductive to the immediate and necessary steps of rebuilding the Democratic Party.”
The Hill did not initially publish the email as it didn’t know if Tolliver was going to be in the running for DNC chair. But after he appeared at the first DNC forum on Jan. 28.
Interim chair Donna Brazile disinvited him from the next forum after his email became public.
“The Democratic Party welcomes all Americans from all backgrounds. What we do not welcome is people discriminating against others based on who they are or how they worship,” she told The Hill in a statement. “We expect candidates for Chair of the Party to conduct a respectful campaign based on issues. To assure that, we ask all our Chair candidates to pledge ‘to uphold the interests, welfare and success of the Democratic Party of the United States,’ and to participate in the process ‘in good faith.’ Mr. Tolliver’s disgusting comments attacking the religion of a fellow candidate fall far short of that standard. Accordingly, Mr. Tolliver is no longer a candidate for DNC Chair.”
Ellison also fired back at Tolliver.
“A few days after Donald Trump instituted a racist and unconstitutional Muslim ban, it’s disappointing that a fellow DNC candidate would fan the flames of intolerance,” Ellison’s spokesman Brett Morrow told The Hill in an email.
“Keith has shown first-hand his commitment to our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, organizing tirelessly against the Minnesota anti-marriage equality amendment in 2012, which led to a resounding win for love at the ballot box. Trump is taking away health care for millions of people, separating families, and alienating our allies. Keith will continue to focus on uniting the Democratic party to fight back against division and hate, and to fight for the core Democratic values of tolerance and inclusion.”
But Tolliver stands by his statement, according to a spokesperson who spoke to the Hill.
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