FAIRMONT, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia city councilman has refused calls to step down amid criticism of comments containing ethnic slurs that he posted to social media.
During a Fairmont City Council meeting Tuesday night, council member David Kennedy faced sharp criticism from community members. But he said residents voted him in and they would have to vote him out, news outlets reported.
The Times West Virginian reported that the backlash followed Kennedy’s use of slurs against people from Asia and the Middle East on Facebook during a conversation about the U.S. bombing attack that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
Kennedy has since removed the posts and made his Facebook page private, the newspaper reported.
After several members of the public spoke, council member Tom Mainella said he agreed with the crowd.
“I’d like to say one thing. If this much honor or dignity is left in your body, you should resign,” Mainella said.
Kennedy read from a prepared statement during the meeting, saying he took an oath in 1966 as a Marine to uphold the Constitution and protect the country from foreign and domestic enemies.
“At one time, those enemies were outside our borders. Now, they are beside us and their aim is to destroy liberty and freedom wherever they find it. Resigning this council seat would be giving up that fight for truth, justice and the American way. We cannot do that,” he said.