N.M. GOP leader blames ‘leftist protesters’ after Virginia attack

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USA Today NetworkHeath Haussamen, Special for the Las Cruces Sun-News Published 8:29 p.m. ET Aug. 13, 2017

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LAS CRUCES, N.M. — A day after a woman was killed protesting a racist rally in Virginia, the head of the Doña Ana County Republican Party lashed out at “violent, leftist protesters” as the true racists.

The New Mexico Republican Party denounced the comments by Roman Jimenez of Las Cruces.

“These violent, leftist protesters are the brainless robots that are created by evil Soros money,” Jimenez said in a since-deleted post on the county party’s Facebook page on Sunday. “The white ones have been taught to hate their color, the women are taught to hate men, black and minorities want to kill whites and police.”

“They then have the audacity to call conservatives racist,” Jimenez wrote. “Their own racism, hate and violence has created the divide amongst those that refuse to be bullied on anymore. They’re getting exactly what they asked for. A segregated society of groups that they’ve created and even labeled themselves.”

In response to the firestorm of criticism that followed on social media, the county GOP wrote in a Facebook comment that the post wasn’t about the events in Charlottesville.

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“I’m speaking about leftist violence across the country. Murder by anyone is inexcusable,” said the comment, which was issued under the party’s name. 

In another comment, the party wrote, “Of course I condemn white supremacists and any associated violence. Just like the left to get all riled up and violent over something taken completely out of context.”

Moments later, the original post was deleted.

The state GOP issued its own Facebook post condeming Jimenez’s remarks Sunday evening.

“The Republican Party of New Mexico fully repudiates the statement made by Roman Jimenez, which does not reflect the views of the Republican Party of New Mexico or the Republican Party of Doña Ana County,” state GOP Chairman Ryan Cangiolosi said. He also tweeted that he was praying for the victims of violence in Charlottesville.

Jimenez retired in 2015 as a captain with the New Mexico State Police, where he served as head of Gov. Susana Martinez’s security detail, according to a biography posted by his current employer, a Las Cruces private security firm.

He ran unsuccessfully for county commissioner last year, and was elected county Republican chair earlier this year.

Jimenez did not respond to a request for comment.

At Saturday’s white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Heather D. Heyer, 32, was killed and 19 others were injured when a car plowed into a group of counter-protesters. James Alex Fields Jr. of Ohio, 20, has been charged in the attack.

The social media criticism of Jimenez’s comment was swift and harsh.

“You do know that a 32-year-old woman was murdered by a Nazi supporter, right? But I guess that doesn’t matter, considering your poor apologetics and vitriol,” Anthony Moss of Albuquerque commented on the Doña Ana County GOP post before it was deleted. “I think you forgot to pick up your white hood and robe on the way to work.”

President Trump has been hammered by Democrats and some Republicans for blaming the violence in Charlottesville on “many sides” and failing to single out white nationalists and racists.

Other Republicans have issued strong statements about Saturday’s events. New Mexico Gov. Martinez condemned “the white supremacists responsible for this cowardly attack.”

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A leading New Mexico Republican wasn’t buying the county GOP’s assertion that Jimenez wasn’t writing about Charlottesville.

“What the hell was he talking about if not Charlottesville?” tweeted former Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White, a Republican who called on Jimenez to resign from his GOP leadership post. He said Jimenez appeared to be “defending the brutal murder of an innocent American” by a neo-Nazi.

In a response to Jimenez’s original Facebook post, Mark Milliorn of Las Cruces called it “deranged.”

“Are you deliberately trying to run off the last few thinking conservatives? This is a prime example of why I am now a Libertarian,” Milliorn wrote.

The Democratic Party of New Mexico, in response to Jimenez’s post, tweeted out its own statement on the events in Charlottesville. “It’s heartbreaking that our country is mourning the deaths of innocent lives caused by blatant racism and hate,” the Democratic Party said. “It is our sincere hope that our country heals from these tragedies and that we come together against bigotry and violence.”

Follow the Las Cruces Sun-News on Twitter: @CrucesSunNews

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