The Washington Post earlier this afternoon reported that embattled Republican Party of Virginia Treasurer Bob FitzSimmonds had offered his resignation after widespread criticism of remarks he made in a Facebook post.
FitzSimmonds spoke out against the President’s remarks about “the many achievements and contributions of Muslim Americans to building the very fabric of our nation and strengthening the core of our democracy,” when the President was marking Eid-al-Fitr, the feast day celebrating the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. From the Post:
In response, FitzSimmonds wrote: “Exactly what part of our nation’s fabric was woven by Muslims?” he wrote. “What about Sikhs, Animists, and Jainists? Should we be thanking them too?”
The reaction to this comment was swift, with Democrats screeching about the intolerance and bigotry of the Republican Party of Virginia, and with embarrassed Republicans, including Speaker Bill Howell and Del. David Ramadan, calling for FitzSimmonds’ resignation from the GOP’s state central committee.
In an article posted this afternoon at 4:07 PM, Washington Post reporters Jenna Portnoy and Patricia Sullivan wrote that FitzSimmonds was poised to resign.
The treasurer of Virginia’s Republican Party has offered his resignation, two high-ranking party sources said, after questioning in a Facebook post whether Muslim Americans have contributed to U.S. society.
The Bull Elephant contacted FitzSimmonds seeking confirmation of this story. However, FitzSimmonds repudiated the story, and said that not only has he not offered his resignation, he has not even discussed the possibility with any party officials. “I have no plans to resign now or in the future,” FitzSimmonds told The Bull Elephant.
FitzSimmonds said that he was not contacted by the Washington Post with any questions about a potential resignation. [UPDATE: The Washington Post stories on this make clear that they did attempt to ask these questions.]
Readers of The Bull Elephant will remember FitzSimmonds as the central figure in Twaddlegate, another controversy involving a FitzSimmonds Facebook post. In that incident, FitzSimmonds plausibly claimed not to have intended to use a vulgarity in describing Del. Barbara Comstock.
In the current situation, however, the criticism against FitzSimmonds is more substantive than protesting an errant choice of diction. His post about Muslims and others in America have not been received well by the general public, nor by much of the GOP that has examined them. We will keep our readers informed of developments as this story unfolds.