(Updated 8:27 p.m.) The Connecticut Republican Party is calling on the Connecticut Democratic Party to delete a tweet about George Logan, who is running for Congress in the 5th Congressional District against U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes, calling it “racist.”
The tweet, which has a photo of Logan in front of a Gadsden flag, says “This is George. George doesn’t live in the 5th District but wants to represent it in Congress.”
Republican Party Chairman Ben Proto said Thursday that the language in the tweet directly mimics the Curious George books.
“They’re comparing an African-American and Latino man to a monkey,” Proto said. “I’m pretty sure if Republicans had put the same tweet out about Jahana Hayes the Democrats would be asking for it to be taken down and calling for whoever created it to be fired because it’s clearly racist.”
The Curious George book first published in 1941 starts out with “This is George. He was a good little monkey and always very curious.”
The Connecticut Democratic Party said it had nothing to do with Curious George.
“The Connecticut Republicans have no opinion about actual racism in their ranks; about demanding that schools stop teaching the history of slavery, about the murderous violence incited by the persistent discussion of replacement theory,” Connecticut Democratic Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo said in an emailed statement. “But they are finding racism where there is none. We suggest the CTGOP get on line and look up memes with stick people, and that George Logan live in the district where he’s running for office.”
Proto said the Curious George series was one of his favorites growing up and there’s no mistaking the “meter” used in the tweet.
“Is it ok for Democrats to make racist comments?” Proto said. “There are plenty of issues, legitimate issues, we should be talking about in the Congressional district, but using comments about George Logan like this are despicable.”
The Connecticut Democratic Party said the Dick and Jane series of books about two white children are written in the same meter and that’s what they were referencing, not Curious George.
Logan isn’t buying it.
“For a party that claims to be open and inclusive, this sort of tweet, which was also retweeted by my opponent Jahana Hayes, certainly comes off as racially motivated. However, this isn’t the first time Democrats and Jahana Hayes have made racially charged comments or statements in regards to my candidacy,” Logan said.
“While Americans are experiencing surging inflation, the highest gas prices in our nation’s history, increase in crime in our communities, and a crisis at our southern border, Democrats would rather play the race card than talk about or solve our issues. I won’t be deterred from addressing the real issues that are negatively impacting the residents of the 5th District.”
Hayes also responded and apologized.
“I read the tweet as saying this person wants to run in the 5th district, yet has no interest in moving here and is instead using the address of a relative. The tweet itself used a cadence popular in millennial posts: e.g. this is Jane – don’t be like Jane. The point of my retweet was to stress that I have lived, worked, raised my family, served, worshipped and been deeply rooted in the 5th district my entire life,” Hayes said in a statement. “I did not see a racial overtone and was surprised when it was framed that way. The implication that I, as a black person would encourage a racist tweet is absurd. I find it hard to believe that anyone, acting in good faith, could interpret my re-tweet as stoking racial animus against another African American. That does not benefit me, my campaign or this district in any way. I do not participate in that kind of behavior and never have. I do however, understand perception and if he was offended that is good enough for me and I apologize.”
Scot X. Esdaile of the Connecticut NAACP said he will investigate the matter and will be reaching out to DiNardo when he returns from the NAACP meeting in Baltimore.
The Connecticut Democratic Party decided to take down the tweet late Friday afternoon.
“We did ‘not’ make any comparison to Curious George. However, our post has been misrepresented and is causing offense. For that, we’re sorry. It’s deleted.”
U.S. Rep. Jim Himes also weighed in on the matter.
“I just became aware of a deeply problematic tweet, posted by my party, @CTDems. Had the GOP posted it, we’d be condemning it. So let’s do that here: intent matters little, whataboutism is not ok, the purported substance doesn’t matter. Let’s take it down, apologize and learn,” Himes tweeted.