ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) -- The chairman of the Maryland Republican Party is calling for the chief of staff of the state's comptroller to be fired over controversial comments he made on social media.
Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot's chief of staff Len Foxwell Saturday responded to criticism of the controversial Facebook post in which he wrote that members of a right-wing group opposed to stay-at-home orders and other coronavirus-related restrictions should be put in a warehouse "and then let Darwin work his magic."
Foxwell, who joined Franchot's office in 2007, according to his biography with the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum where he's a board member, shared a link to an article on Monday about a group called "The Patriot Movement" calling on people to defy coronavirus-related orders. In the post, he wrote:
"Let's lure them into a big, big warehouse (we'll call it something real classy to suit their refined sensibilities, like "America MAGA Platinum Palace") with the promise of all the unfiltered Camels they can smoke, all the Salisbury steak and banana moonpies they can eat, washed down by all the Old Crow and Icehouse they can drink.
"Plus, autographs from Scott Baio and pics with Tawny Kitean, posing all sexy and everything on a sportscar, just like in that old Whitesnake video! Get them in, bar the door and then let Darwin work his magic."
As of Monday, Foxwell submitted his resignation from the board of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.
The post drew backlash online, with multiple commenters calling for Foxwell to be fired.
Maryland Republican Party chairman Dirk Haire also called on Franchot to fire Foxwell.
"I hope you agree with me that Mr. Foxwell's statements suggesting the genocide of President Trump's supporters are extraordinarily inappropriate and representative of a base and destructive mindset. A review of Mr. Foxwell's Facebook page shows many similar posts by Mr. Foxwell," Haire wrote.
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On Saturday, Foxwell wrote that his comments were made "in a typical spirit of sarcasm and jest" and were not directed at supporters of President Donald Trump but rather at the leaders and members of the group:
"Again, this had nothing to do with rank-and-file Trump supporters - notwithstanding my deep, searing distaste for the President's politics and his catastrophic mismanagement of this crisis. Nor, obviously, did I ever express hope that someone would die. Any suggestions to the contrary are simply, absolutely false. By now, it's fairly obvious that, like so many other social media brush fires that revolve around this President, a handful of provocateurs twisted unrelated content to suit their narrative of victimization and government persecution."
Saturday night, Franchot said he stands behind Foxwell:
"It has never been my policy to comment on social media content posted by members of my staff, so long as it is done on their own time. I won't start now. Suffice to say, however, that I remain 100 percent supportive of Len Foxwell and the exceptional work he continues to do for me and for the people of Maryland. He is an exceptional public servant, a dear family friend, and I look forward to his continued service as my Chief of Staff for years to come."
Foxwell's latest post came just hours after protesters filled the streets of Annapolis, calling on Gov. Larry Hogan to remove some restrictions the state put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19.
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