By Tim Molloy
(Update: In an interview with TheWrap, Yelton says he’s been scapegoated, but stands by his comments.)
A North Carolina Republican precinct chairman has stepped down after members of his party called for his resignation following a “Daily Show” interview in which he derided “lazy blacks.”
Don Yelton, formerly of the Buncombe County Republican Party in North Carolina, made the comments while defending his state’s voter-fraud law, which critics say amounts to voter suppression to keep African-American voters from the polls.
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Yelton insisted during the interview that the law had nothing to do with race. But the show edited together a series of comments in which he volunteered that he once posted an image of President Obama as a witch doctor and used the N-word while complaining that it’s OK for black people but not white people to use it.
At one point correspondent Aasif Mandvi asked him, “You know that we can hear you, right?”
Yelton said the fraud law might hurt college students too lazy to wake up to get photo IDs, some white people or “a bunch of lazy blacks that wants the government to give them everything.”
Buncombe Republican Party Chairman Henry Mitchell told the News & Observer that Yelton resigned Thursday at his request.
“On behalf of the Buncombe County Republican Party we would like to express our sincerest regrets and disappointment in the comments made by Don Yelton on the Wednesday edition of Jon Stewart’s ‘The Daily Show,’” Mitchell said in a statement. “Mr. Yelton’s comments are offensive, uniformed and unacceptable of any member within the Republican Party. In no way are his comments representative of the local or state Republican Party.”
“Let me make it very clear, Mr. Yelton’s comments do not reflect the belief or feelings of Buncombe Republicans, nor do they mirror any core principle that our party is founded upon. This mentality will not be supported or propagated within our party,” Mitchell added.
Yelton told Mandvi during the interview, “Well, I’ve been called a bigot before,” but he said he hadn’t treated Mandvi any differently than he would anyone else, even though Mandvi was of a different race.
Watch the video below:
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In an interview with TheWrap after this story was initially published, Yelton stood by his comments and said local Republicans should have used them as proof that they accept all viewpoints.
“They can turn it into a positive if they want to,” he said. “The party does not try to control the speech of individuals. That’s the point they could have made. You have to let people have an opinion.”
He also used the N-word again, while repeating his complaint about whites not being allowed to use it.
The county party did not respond to requests for comment from TheWrap on Friday.