UPDATE: Witzke defends posts: GOP leader Brady calls comments ‘tasteless and offensive’

About 200 attended a GOP rally Sunday on Canterbury Road between Frederica and Milford. Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

MILFORD — Following a torrent of negative reactions — from Democrats and Republicans — to comments that U.S. Senate candidate Lauren Witzke made on the death of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on social media Friday, the Republican candidate stood behind her assertions Sunday.

Ms. Witzke took aim at Justice Ginsburg’s stance on abortion and its purported effects on Blacks and minorities, and pledged only to vote to confirm a pro-life justice to the Supreme Court.

Republican Lauren Witzke, who will face incumbent Chris Coons for U.S. Senate in November, criticized late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on social media.

The post featured a meme of three Black children smiling and dancing accompanied by the words “Black babies when Ruth Vader Ginsburg dies.”

The meme was taken down hours after on Friday evening but her comments remained, posted at facebook.com/LaurenWitzkeforDE.

At a GOP candidate rally in the Milford area on Sunday, Ms. Witzke took the stage and predicted a call from Democrats to end support of her campaign, and urged fellow Republicans to resist if that happened. An estimated 200 people attended the event on Canterbury Road between Frederica and Milford.

“The mob, the Delaware Democrats, are about to call on you to renounce me as your U.S. Senate candidate, but I say we never cave to the mob because the mob spares no one,” she said.

On Facebook Saturday, Ms. Witzke said in a post, “I am taking back full control of my Facebook page, in order to ensure that our message comes across as intended.”

When Ms. Witzke was asked questions by the Delaware State News Sunday at the rally, she declined comment and said she would respond via email. An email was not received at press time.

At Sunday’s gathering, Delaware Republican Party chairwoman Jane Brady said Ms. Witzke should be the one deciding the future of her U.S. Senate campaign and declined further comment.

At Sunday’s gathering, state GOP chairwoman Jane Brady said Lauren Witzke should be the one deciding the future of her U.S. Senate campaign and declined further comment.

Ms. Brady said she considered Ms. Witzke’s comments “tasteless and offensive. While it seems to have been intended to reflect her support of unborn children, I think it alienated many, both within and outside the Republican party.”

On Monday, she reiterated her disdain for the post.

“The content of this post was offensive and tasteless”, she said in a statement. “It has been universally condemned by members of the Republican Party who have spoken to me about it. I personally found it reprehensible.”

“It appears that Ms. Witzke may not have been aware of the post before it was sent, and she has pledged to personally manage her own social platform for the remainder of her campaign. The post has definitely hurt the campaign however, and Ms Witzke has some work to do to address the harm this matter has caused.”

In a Facebook post prior to the rally Sunday, Ms. Witzke said, “A few elected Delaware GOP officials were not happy with my post about protecting the lives of the unborn.

“Let me make this very clear:

“We support President Trump, we support America First, and we support LIFE.

“If anyone in the GOP has a problem with that — they can join the radical leftist mob that’s burning, looting, rioting and murdering.”

In one Facebook post, which was accompanied by the meme, following Justice Ginsburg’s death Friday, Ms. Witzke opined:
“Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s obsession with abortion overtly singled out blacks and minorities for extermination.

“Her own words from the 1970s tell us she didn’t want too many blacks or poor folks procreating.

“Tens of millions of black and brown babies never got a chance at life because of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Cathy Watts, president of the Delaware Federation of Republican Woman, left, introduces candidate for governor Julianne Murray at Sunday’s GOP rally.

“If elected, I pledge I will only ever vote to confirm a pro-life justice to the Supreme Court.”

Ms. Witzke noted that she temporarily removed one post “because of many repeated threats and attempts to dox me and my family.”
On Twitter Sunday, Ms. Witzke tweeted:

“To all the Delaware GOP elected officials calling for my campaign’s suspension: You can pander to the liberals in an attempt to secure your own re-elections: but the mob will still not spare you.

“I will never apologize for being #ProLife.”

Speaking publicly for about two minutes early in the rally Sunday, Ms. Witzke said, in part, “Two months ago I asked for the GOP’s support in putting America first, supporting President Trump and endorsing my U.S. Senate campaign …

GOP candidate for Congress Lee Murphy sprints to the stage to speak to supporters Sunday.

“The party, including some of you today, chose not to support me. That’s OK. I harbor no ill will towards anyone.

“… again today I am asking for your support. I will help any of you in any way I can to secure your elections and re-elections …”

During the rally, other candidates running for office took the stage to pitch their campaigns and seek support in the November general election.

Democrats respond

On Sunday, U.S. Sen. Chris Coons’ campaign manager Christy Gleason released a statement that read:

“Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a leader, an inspiring advocate and jurist who made a difference for millions of Americans.

“At the very moment when we should honor her service to our country and come together in reflection, Lauren Witzke did the opposite, posting an offensive meme that celebrated her passing. Delaware deserves better.”

Sen. Coons faces Ms. Witzke in the general election. Ms. Witzke beat party-endorsed candidate James De Martino in the primary election Tuesday.

In a statement, Delaware Democratic Party Chairman Erik Raser-Schramm pointed to the positions taken by past GOP candidates and maintained “As if hate speech could possibly escalate from there, (Friday) Lauren Witzke celebrated the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with a vile and racist meme that is too offensive to even describe.

“It’s the latest diatribe of vitriol from the GOP Senate nominee, who has also pushed white supremacy, anti-Semitism, flat-earthism, and Sept. 11 conspiracy theories even as Delaware GOP Chair Jane Brady promotes her candidacy and fundraises for her campaign.”

Claiming that Ms. Brady “has utterly failed her test as a Party leader,” Ms. Raser-Schramm called for Ms. Brady to renounce Ms. Witzke and urge her to end her candidacy.

This story has been updated.

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