An Ohio Republican who blamed gay people, trans people and drag queens for mass shootings is refusing to resign, despite pressure from other Republicans.
State Rep. Candice Keller last week published a list of people and policies she blamed for mass shootings, mere hours after nine people were shot dead in Dayton, Ohio.
Keller claimed LGBTQ people — as well as former President Barack Obama, legalized marijuana, “open borders,” and others — had led to the “breakdown of the traditional American family. That, in turn, caused mass shootings, she claimed.
Outrage quickly followed, including from fellow conservatives, with one calling Keller’s comments “an embarassment.”
In a statement, Butler County GOP Executive Chairman Todd Hall said he could not “condone such comment and behavior” and criticized Keller for trying to “politicize” the shooting.
And now the Ohio Republican Party has weighed in, with party chair Jane Timken calling for Keller’s resignation and branding her comments “utterly unjustifiable.”
“While our nation was in utter shock over the acts of violence in El Paso and Dayton, Republican State Representative Candice Keller took to social media to state why she thought these acts were happening,” Timken said in a statement. “Candice Keller’s Facebook post was shocking and utterly unjustifiable. Our nation is reeling from these senseless acts of violence and public servants should be working to bring our communities together, not promoting divisiveness.”
According to Cincinnati.com, Timken usually avoids publicity and political fights, and has yet to call for any Republican’s resignation since assuming her leadership position in 2017.
Democrats are also calling for Keller to step down, with Butler County Democratic Party Chairman Brian Hester called Keller “fundamentally unfit for office.”
“She loves to fan the flames and play the role of victim here, not the nine people who were killed, Hester said. “She is fundamentally unfit for office. She is an embarrassment to her party, to conservatives, to Butler County and to the state Legislature.”
Keller rejected Timken’s calls for resignation in a statement, saying, “establishment moderates have never been fans of mine because I ran against their endorsement and won. As the only conservative in this race, I will be taking my Senate campaign to the voters to decide.”
It’s notable that the one demographic Keller failed to blame was white nationalists. Last year, white supremacists were to blame for more extremist killings than any other group.
In 2017, Keller appeared on white supremacist radio show The Sonny Thomas Show, where she talked about her proposed ban on sanctuary cities.
Thomas has previously made statements such as, “We must secure the existence of our race and a future for white children” and “‘Diversity’ is a code word for white genocide.”
After local press asked her about Thomas’ views, Keller said she was “completely unaware” and “very disappointed to hear it.”