On Wednesday night, The Daily Show’s Aasif Mandvi visited Asheville, North Carolina to do a piece on voter suppression in the wake of the Supreme Court striking down a piece of the Civil Right Act. In the segment, Mandvi interviewed Don Yelton, a Republican activist and the Buncombe County Republican precinct chairman.
As is typical of these comedic segments, Mandvi elicited a few choice quotes from Yelton, but unlike most segments in which The Daily Show puts these quotes into a context meant to make a fool of the subject, Yelton did all the work himself. In fact, he said some things so blatantly racist that even Mandvi looked taken aback by what Yelton was saying, asking at one point, “You know we can hear you, right?”
Among those choice quotes:
“When I was a young man, you didn’t call a black a black — you called him a negra.” …
“I had a picture one time of Obama sitting on a stump as a witch doctor, and I posted that on Facebook … for your information I was making fun of my white half of Obama, not the black half.”
“And now you have a black person using the term ni**er this ni**er that and it’s okay for them to do it.”
And if that isn’t bad enough, Yelton actually said out loud, “As a matter of fact, one of my best friends is black.” Ultimately, the executive GOP committee member admitted that the law he was advocating was was designed to suppress Democratic votes and those “lazy blacks that want the government to give them everything.”
Thankfully, someone in North Carolina actually had the sense, after the segment aired, to fire Yelton. Buncombe GOP Chairman Henry Mitchell said there’s no place in the Republican party for guys like Yelton. From WRAL:
Mitchell called the remarks “offensive, uniformed and unacceptable of any member within the Republican Party.”
“Let me make it very clear, Mr. Yelton’s comments do not reflect the belief or feelings of Buncombe Republicans, nor do they mirror any core principle that our party is founded upon,” Mitchell said in a press release. “This mentality will not be supported or propagated within our party.”
According to the release, this isn’t the first time Yelton has clashed with local party leadership.
“Yelton was recently reprimanded and removed from his position as a precinct chair in Buncombe County for a period of time in 2012 through 2013 and was then re-elected to precinct chair by two votes (his wife and himself) at the 2013 convention, placing him back on the Buncombe County Executive Committee,” said the statement, which also noted that Yelton neither sought nor got approval to speak on behalf of the GOP.
Yelton stepped down from his post after Mitchell asked for his resignation.