Watch CBS News

Villanueva campaign manager under fire after tweeting he "bought a salsa maker" from Hispanic clergy

Calls for Sheriff Villanueva's campaign manager to resign following social media statement
Calls for Sheriff Villanueva's campaign manager to resign following social media statement 02:38

The campaign manager for LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva is under fire Friday after a questionable tweet aimed at another candidate, on the heels of a campaign ad that prompted the LA Archdiocese to take a neutral stand.

The latest kerfuffle started with a religious-themed campaign ad showing Villanueva praying at a Catholic Church for help fighting violent crime. Villanueva's campaign apparently took the video down after the Archdiocese objected to its filming at St. Alphonsus Church in East LA.

Candidate Matt Rodriguez weighed in on the situation, invoking Jesus' admonition to not be like hypocrites, saying "You can pray out loud in a commercial for political gain or you can live a life daily with God in your heart. I know which one I've chosen!" The tweet was sent with two images of the candidate with the Clergy Ministerial Coalition Latinos USA.

Javier Gonzalez, Villanueva's campaign manager, replied to the tweet, saying "I think I bought a salsa maker from one of them at the swap meet one time. Not kidding."

Rodriguez called Gonzalez's statement an "incredibly racist thing to say about a group of men and women of faith who have been involved with the Sheriff's Department clergy programs for years!"

The pastors with the coalition now want Villanueva to answer for his campaign manager's statement.

"We of the Clergy Hispanic of LA County request an apology from Mr. Javier Gonzalez, campaign manager for Alex Villanueva for his offensive words toward the Latino community and its culture," Pastor J.A. Mayorga said in a video statement.

Rodriguez says he is calling on Villanueva to fire his campaign manager and issue a public apology.

"When I saw, you know, the campaign manager of the sheriff actually disparaging them like that, and referring them to swap meet workers, selling salsa makers. It was just greatly offensive to me," Rodriguez said.

A statement issued by Gonzalez says "We're not commenting on desperate moves from desperate candidates that are getting no traction."

The sheriff has not issued a statement himself on the exchange.

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.