A Chicago-area Democratic group is facing backlash after sharing a meme on their Facebook page comparing Ku Klux Klan hoods to "Make America Great Again" hats. While the post was quickly deleted by a moderate of Kankakee County Democrats, chairman of Kankakee County Republican Party says that Democratic Party Chairman, John Willard, who posted the meme, should resign.
The offending image features a person wearing a red KKK hood that reads "Make America Hate Again." The overlaying text of the image read, "What's the difference between a Klan hood and a MAGA hat? The Klan hood was made in America." While third-party hats may be made outside of the country, the campaign's official merchandise is made in the USA.
Willard shared an apology post regarding the photo on the group's Facebook page after the image was removed. It read in part, "The narrative of the meme addressed the issue of political campaigns buying products not made in the USA. Namely the MAGA hats. The meme insinuated that KKK hoods are more likely to be made in America than MAGA hats... My intended message is: It would help working Americans greatly if the enormous sums of money being spent on campaign paraphernalia were manufactured in the USA."
He went on to offer an apology to members of the Democratic Party and "any others who may have been negatively affected by this clumsy misrepresentation of our intended message..."
Jeff Keast, the chairman of Kankakee County Republican party, was not the only person to find the image to have "crossed the line," Chicago 5 reports.
Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker voiced his displeasure over the Facebook post on Twitter, writing, "The recent post by the [Kankakee] Democratic County Chairman is wrong and lacks the civility our politics should demand."
However, this is not the first meme shared by a political group in the Illinois area to draw ire recently.
Days before the Kankakee County Democrats shared the offending image, the Illinois Republican County Chairman's Association Facebook page shared one of their own.
The post featured a mock movie poster, titled "The Jihad Squad," and featured U.S. Reps. Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib. The tagline read, "Political jihad is their game... if you don’t agree with their Socialist ideology, you’re racist."
The post was deleted on Sunday and an apology post from Mark Shaw, President of the Republican County Chairmen’s Association of Illinois, was shared.
"A couple of days ago, an image which was not authorized by me was posted on the Facebook page of the Illinois Republican County Chairmen’s Association ('RCCA')," Shaw wrote. "I condemn this unauthorized posting and it has been deleted. I am sorry if anyone who saw the image was offended by the contents."
Shaw added that the RCCA has a "multi-stage" approval process for all social media posts and that they will be re-evaluating the process to "[ensure] that any content posted in the future represents the 'big-tent' nature of the Republican Party."
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