A high-ranking elected official in Gwinnett County, Georgia, on Saturday, Jan. 14, took to his personal Facebook account to speak out against U.S congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis.
In his post, Tommy Hunter, a Republican who serves on the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners, called Lewis a “racist pig” and referred to “Demonrats” as a “bunch of idiots” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
Hunter’s sharp invective came amid a public feud between president-elect Donald Trump and Lewis that began last week after Lewis asserted that the former reality TV star was not a “legitimate president.” The president-elect fired back at the civil rights icon, telling him to focus on his “crime infested” district and crumbling “inner-cities across the U.S.”
Hunter seemingly took sides with Trump on the matter and posted his thoughts on the feud to his Facebook page on Saturday.
“John Lewis is a racist pig,” he wrote. ” … Demonrats (Democrats) DO NOT live in reality. They believe the polls were right and the REAL VOTES were wrong. What a bunch of idiots.”
The Gwinnett official published another post aimed at Lewis on Sunday, calling all of his election wins “illegitimate.”
By Monday, Jan. 16, the “racist pig” post had been removed from Hunter’s timeline, the AJC reported. Still, there were other posts that publicly insulted U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, asking if there were “any white guys” on the University of Alabama’s football team. Another criticized Gov. Nathan Deal for declaring a state of emergency ahead of last week’s snow storm, which turned out to be largely uneventful, the newspaper reported.
Hunter’s inflammatory comments sparked anger among other Facebook users, who vowed that the commissioner would pay for what he said about the civil rights champion.
“The comments you made about John Lewis are reprehensible,” one user commented under Hunter’s post. “How in the hell people in Gwinnett County could vote for a scumbag like you I don’t know. You should immediately apologize to John Lewis.”
“It is because of people lacking basic, decent, respect like you that we are now facing the oncoming sh*tstorm of Trump,” said another. “If you don’t resign, you’ll be driven from office at the next election. We do not need people in office who disrespect true heroes. You will pay for this.”
While he admitted that his remarks against Lewis were an “overreaction out of frustration,” Hunter stood firm on the rest of his statements. He even defended president-elect Trump, asserting that the real estate tycoon isn’t racist and brushed off claims that Russian hacking had influenced the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
“While I am grateful for what the Congressman did in Selma and other times during the civil rights movement, you get respect by showing respect,” Hunter told the AJC via Facebook messenger. “He is using his fame as a way to continually divide the races and in this case standing on the very much unsubstantiated claim that the guy I voted for [Trump] is racist and only won because of Russians hacking the election—which, of course, we all know didn’t occur.”
“So, true to exactly what the political pundits said would happen, he makes the claim that Trump, and all of us that voted for him, are illegitimate,” he added. “Therefore, I claim [Lewis] is illegitimate and make just as many unsubstantiated claims as [Trump] does. After all, in today’s world, it’s not about the evidence, but the seriousness of the charges.”
Hunter’s comments have since sparked backlash from fellow local and state leaders like Gabe Okoye, chairman of the Gwinnett Democratic Party, who has called for him to apologize.
Instead of offering an apology, however, Hunter took to Facebook once again on Monday, Jan. 16, to wish his friends a happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
“Remember, it’s the content of your character, not the color of your skin that matters,” he wrote. “Someday, hopefully that becomes a reality.”