April 21, 2018
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After ‘The Daily Show’ interview, NC precinct chair resigns over racial remarks

By John Frank and Craig Jarvis, The News & Observer (Raleigh)

RALEIGH, N.C. — An appearance on “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” has cost Don Yelton, a member of the N.C. Republican Party, his position as Buncombe County precinct chair for the GOP.

A five-minute segment of the Comedy Central show Wednesday night about the state’s new election law, focused a good bit on Yelton’s racial views.

On Thursday, as the video went viral, Claude Pope, chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party, called for Yelton’s resignation.

“The North Carolina Republican Party finds the comments made by Mr. Yelton to be completely inappropriate and highly offensive,” Pope said in a statement the state GOP released.

Yelton said the law’s intent is not racial but designed to “kick the Democrats in the butt.”

He also criticized lazy college students and “lazy blacks that want the government to give them everything” because the state was issuing free IDs to ease compliance.

“I can’t believe we have that many stupid people in North Carolina. People who don’t know how to follow directions and go down there and get a photo ID for free at the DMV. Do we want those people picking your president?” Yelton asked.

Before the interview with “Daily Show” correspondent Aasif Mandvi aired, Yelton complained that the show’s producers would edit the footage to make him sound racist.

“The questions were such that the answers can be played with. I expect them to play with my answers for racism,” he told the Mountain Xpress in Asheville. “They got real upset because I laughed a lot, because it was so obvious what they were doing.”

The TV show identified Yelton as a member of the state GOP executive committee, which he has never been, according to a state GOP spokesman. The term “executive committee” is a little misleading, as about 650 people are members.

Buncombe GOP Chairman Henry Mitchell told Dome Thursday evening Yelton resigned at his request.

Mitchell said Yelton had recently been reprimanded and removed from his position as a precinct chair in Buncombe County in 2012 and 2013, and was re-elected to precinct chair by two votes — his wife’s and his own — at the 2013 convention, which put him back on the county executive committee.

Mitchell issued this statement:

“On behalf of the Buncombe County Republican Party we would like to express our sincerest regrets and disappointment in the comments made by Don Yelton on the Wednesday edition of Jon Stewart’s ‘The Daily Show.’ Mr. Yelton’s comments are offensive, uniformed, and unacceptable of any member within the Republican Party. In no way are his comments representative of the local or state Republican Party.

“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. This mentality will not be supported or propagated within our party.”

Yelton announced his resignation on Asheville talk radio host Pete Kaliner’s program on WWNC. Kaliner told Dome that Yelton’s “black friend” — Yelton said in the interview he wasn’t a bigot, that “one of my best friends is black” — called the program to defend him.

Kaliner identified the Yelton supporter as Tim Johnson, the former state GOP vice chairman.

Distributed by MCT Information Services


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