*Tom Eckerle, a Leelanau County, Mich. Road Commissioner, is facing calls to resign after he went on a racist rant during a public meeting and later said in an interview that he did not regret it.
Eckerle was asked before a Road Commission meeting on Tuesday why he was not wearing a mask. He reportedly responded by saying: “Well this whole thing is because of them n***** down in Detroit.”
According to a CBS News report, Road Commission chair Bob Joyce called out the comment, but Eckerle doubled down on his use of the racial slur.
“I can say anything I want…Black Lives Matter has everything to do with taking the country away from us,” he said.
When later asked during an interview if he regretted it, Eckerle said “No, I don’t regret calling it an n*****,” he told Interlochen Public Radio on Thursday. “A n***** is a n***** is a n*****. That’s not a person whatsoever.”
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Leelanau County Road Commissioner Tom Eckerle used the N-word in arguing why he wouldn’t wear a mask at a commission meeting.
— Chad Livengood (@ChadLivengood) August 6, 2020
Now several officials, including the state’s governor, are calling for him to resign. But Eckerle refuses, the radio station reports.
In a Facebook post, Republican State Rep. Jack O’Malley said in a statement that Eckerle “is in the early part of an elected six year term. If he refuses to resign there are 2 options that I am aware of. The citizens can petition for a recall, or, the County Board can request that the Governor remove him.”
“In today’s emotional and highly charged climate to say what he said is ignorant and has no place, especially as an elected official,” O’Malley’s post continued. “I did remind him he represents everyone in Leelanau County as I do…. and his comments were and are beyond stupid. I hope Mr. Eckerle can come to see his mistakes and resign.”
Governor Gretchen Whitmer has also called for Eckerle to resign immediately.
“His comments are atrocious,” the governor’s press secretary, Tiffany Brown, said in an email to CBS News on Friday. “The Governor has been very clear — there’s no place for hate and racism in Michigan.”