GOP Official in N.C. Resigns After Racially Charged "Daily Show" Interview

Buncombe County GOP precinct chairman Don Yelton referred to "lazy blacks" while defending the state's new voter ID law

By Cathy Rainone
|  Saturday, Oct 26, 2013  |  Updated 9:06 AM PDT
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N.C. GOP Official Quits After Racist Remarks on "Daily Show"

AP

"Daily Show" host Jon Stewart.

A Republican official in North Carolina has resigned his post just a day after "The Daily Show" aired an interview with him making racially charged remarks.

Buncombe County, N.C. GOP precinct chairman Don Yelton referred to "lazy blacks that wants the government to give them everything" and complained that blacks could use the N-word — he said the word itself — but not whites.

He also said he's had a caricature of President Barack Obama dressed as a "witch doctor" sitting on a stump, but that the drawing made fun of the president’s "white half, not his black half."

Yelton's remarks came amid his defense of his state's restrictive new voter ID law — which the Justice Department is challenging, saying it discriminates against minorities — in an interview with the show's correspondent Aasif Mandvi.

The show's segment looked at the fallout from the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down a key provision in the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Since the June ruling, several states, including North Carolina, have introduced new voting laws.

The interview with Yelton aired on Wednesday, and the Republican resigned Thursday, even as he refused to apologize for his comments.

"There's nothing I said that I would take back. So be it," Yelton said in an interview with the Asheville, N.C., Citizen-Times.

Buncombe County GOP Chairman Henry Mitchell said in a statement that Yelton's commentss were "completely inappropriate and highly offensive."

"Let me make it very clear, Mr. Yelton's comments do not reflect the belief or feelings of Buncombe Republicans, nor do they mirror any core principle that our party is founded upon," Mitchell wrote. "This mentality will not be supported or propagated within our party."

Yelton told the Citizen-Times that his words were edited from a two-hour discussion and that the quotes were "cut and pasted" together by the show he said he knew leaned to the political left.

"I knew going in what was going to happen, and nothing happened that I was surprised at," Yelton said. "If you and I disagree and we never communicate, are we ever going to accomplish anything?"

During the portions of the interview that aired, Mandvi looks at the camera as Yelton is about to finish a sentence, in which he says, "One of my best friends is ... black."

That is followed by a montage of racially charged quotes from Yelton and concludes with Mandvi asking, "You know that we can hear you, right?"

"Yes," Yelton answers with a smile.

Yelton afterward told the Citizen-Times said he does not regret using the N-word on the show because he was making a larger point.

"I said, 'A (N-word) can call a (N-word) a (N-word) and that's no problem, and that's racist,'” Yelton said. "That’s the most racist thing you can imagine."

Mitchell also said that Yelton had previously been reprimanded and removed from his position last year, before being reelected by two votes, his own and his wife's.

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