Photo Credit: Jay Jacobs / Twitter Profile shot
State Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs

Statewide New York Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs is being roundly condemned within the party over a remark he made Monday (Oct. 18) invoking the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), according to the Brooklyn Eagle.

Jacobs told a reporter that as a party chair he is not required to endorse the Democratic nominee, India Walton, who defeated the four-term mayor of Buffalo, Byron Brown, in a Democratic primary race. Brown remains in the race with a write-in campaign.

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Although Jacobs apologized, party members are still calling for his resignation after he suggested a hypothetical, “very different” scenario in which David Duke, former leader of the KKK moves to New York, becomes a Democrat and runs to become the mayor of Rochester.

“I have to endorse David Duke?” he asked rhetorically. “I don’t think so. Now, of course, India Walton is not in the same category but it just, it just leads you to that question: is it a must? It’s not a must.

“It’s something you choose to do. That’s why it’s an endorsement,” he said.

Jacobs was condemned by NY Gov. Kathy Hochul, US Senator Chuck Schumer, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and other Democrats.

Democrats who represent parts of Queens, the Bronx and Westchester County – US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, US Rep. Jamal Bowman and State Sen. Alessandra Biaggi – all issued statements calling for his resignation.

Ocasio-Cortez called his comments “disgusting.”

Biaggi said in a statement that Jacobs’ remark was “outrageously racist”.

“This is the malignant narcissism of far too many white men,” Bowman contended in a statement. “Jay Jacobs needs to resign or be removed.”

Jacobs subsequently said that he “should have used a different example, and for that, I apologize,” he said. Nevertheless, he said, he stands by his point that party leaders do not have to endorse every member of their party.

“This is what’s wrong with public discourse today,” he added in a tweet. “People want to find something to be unhappy about, so they twist statements, or ignore statements, to make their argument. That doesn’t make them true.”

Hochul told reporters on Tuesday that since Jacobs had apologized, “I’m willing to just assess the situation going forward.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.