Arizona Republicans have disavowed a university group, after leaks revealed members had sent homophobic, racist and anti-Semitic messages.
The College Republicans United group at Arizona State University, which splintered from the main ASU College Republicans chapter, is under fire after the Phoenix New Times on Friday (March 22) published Facebook messages leaked to the publication by former club members.
Some of the messages from founder Richard Thomas express anti-LGBT views. In one message, he stated: “I don’t believe homosexuality or this level of degeneracy is biological it’s a choice.”
He added: “I look at it like how being bipolar or chemically imbalanced is not natural it’s a deformity.”
In other messages, Thomas refers to rapper Childish Gambino as “degenerate monkey filth.”
Sharing a video of a child with disabilities, Thomas wrote: “Remind me why we can’t have a eugenics policy again?”
In other messages, several members of the group refer to Jewish people using multiple parentheses, a common neo-Nazi anti-Semitic signifier.
Arizona Republicans disavow university student comments
The messages were leaked by former members of the group, who disavowed it as “filled with white nationalists and neo-Nazis posing as principled conservatives and Republicans” in the introduction to the dossier compiling the leaked messages, quoted in The Arizona Republic on Monday (March 25).
The Arizona Republican Party, for whom the group had held campaign events, disavowed the messages in a statement published in The Arizona Republic.
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An Arizona GOP spokesperson said the comments “do not reflect our party’s values or ideals,” adding: “The Republican Party of Arizona promotes unity and inclusivity.”
In a statement, a spokesperson for Arizona State University added that the university was looking into the issue and “takes these matters extremely seriously.”
The university added: “If a violation of the student code of conduct is found, it will be dealt with in a manner consistent with our policies and procedures.”
In a statement on its website, College Republicans United claimed the comments were “cherry-picked excerpts out of context,” and added: “It’s a shame that we have so-called fellow ‘Republicans’ who are stooping so low to use leftist rags to attack other Republicans.”
However, Thomas later told Arizona Central that he “regrets” the remarks.
A message posted on the College Republicans United’s Twitter account on Monday read: “CRU is seeking the opportunity to sincerely, publicly, and appropriately apologize, ask for forgiveness and seek to restore trust with the community tomorrow at ASU at 2pm in front of Old Main.”
The row comes just weeks after the Republican Governor of Nebraska was forced to distance himself from a top election campaign staffer over a string of racist and homophobic messages.
Governor Pete Ricketts condemned the messages believed to have been sent by Bennett Bressman, who was the statewide field director for his 2018 re-election campaign.
Bressman was linked to online messages that called for “frag grenades in fag parades all summer 2018” and claimed that “gays are scum of the earth.”