[cross-posted at DLCC.org]
A Republican candidate for the Iowa House has found himself under recent scrutiny for some reprehensible comments he posted on his Facebook page.
The Iowa Independent broke the story Tuesday, revealing that Jeremy Walters, who is running against the Democratic Majority Leader of the Iowa state House, posted some incendiary remarks regarding AIDS and homosexuality on his Facebook page last week (he’s since removed them in a belated fit of remorse, but that’s what screenshots are for). Walters wrote that when the Bible says homosexuals should be “put to death; their blood shall be upon them,” the “blood” is actually AIDS.
Which the Iowa GOP did:
“Mr. Walters’ comments are inappropriate and in no way represent the beliefs of the Republican Party of Iowa,” Strawn said in a statement to The Iowa Independent. “HIV/AIDS does not discriminate and our hearts and prayers go out to any Iowa family facing this disease.”
Walters, meanwhile, stood by his statements:
Walters told The Des Moines Register that he has no plans to remove the posting from his Facebook page, saying it’s only offensive to gay rights advocates, “because they know it’s the truth. Truth does hurt.”
But by 6:50 p.m. Tuesday evening, he had removed the vile sentiments from his Facebook page. (This came shortly after the Iowa Republicans rescinded his invitation to staff their State Fair booth on Thursday and Saturday. There is no direct evidence that these events were linked, but we find the timing suspect.)
Walters also posted an apology of sorts (quoted directly, no edits):
I appologize for the mistake and if this statement offened anyone.
Both postings have been removed and these comments do not pertain to my campaign or the Republican Party of Iowa.My passion is to listen and learn from the people so I can represent them at the state house. Everyone makes mistakes, please forgive me.
One of the intrepid bloggers at Think Progress succeeded in contacting Walters, who took the opportunity to explain himself further:
WALTERS: I just felt people should know what’s in the Bible, you know, scripture…I’m sorry that I even posted that because now I’m getting all of this attention and it’s bad attention, it’s not good attention. What inspired me posting that is because I had a few friends who were both homosexuals and passed away form AIDS.
VOLSKY: I understand that you regret posting it…But do you still believe that AIDS is the result of the sin of homosexuality?
WALTERS: Well, I don’t want to say that I don’t. I just, like I said, had an experience of friends dying….But back to the posting, that post when I posted, I do feel sorry and denounce what I said.
VOLSKY: Ok, so just to be clear, you are denouncing what you said? So you no longer believe that AIDS is God’s way of getting back at the sin of homosexuality?
WALTERS: Well, you know, I want to say that I’ve been seeing a lot of people that are in that lifestyle become with HIV and AIDS, but like I said, you can also get it through dirty needles and things so…. I would have to say that I removed it because it was not right to post it on there and I shouldn’t be picking on their lives, because they’re not picking on my life. I should be an understanding person and not a hater.
Apparently, the Iowa Republican Party finds his contrition insufficient. Last night he lamented on his Facebook wall (again, no edits):
since everthing that happin Today. I am ban from any events that the Republican party puts on so now what? Am I a bad candidate I want to represent the people not myself.
Here’s a little more background on the political career of GOP House candidate Walters:
He has previously run three times in three different legislative districts, most recently losing to Democrat Geri Huser in House District 42 by more than 20 percentage points in 2004 and in the GOP primary in House District 62 in 2008. He later served as a precinct chair for Texas Congressman Ron Paul’s 2008 Iowa Caucus campaign.
Walters is currently running in state House District 67 and seeks to unseat House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.