Democrats are demanding an apology from Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller for posting a photo to Facebook that seems to advocate for dropping atomic bombs on Muslim populations. However, the official has taken a defiant stance and has refused to back down so far.
The photo, which was eventually removed from his public Facebook page, shows an image of an atomic bomb and reads: "Japan has been at peace with the U.S. since August 9, 1945. It's time we made peace with the Muslim world." The photo was shared from "The Patriots IV Drip 2" Facebook page with the caption "#noislamknowpeace."
"We do not agree with Obama and his political views. We ban trolls," that page's brief description reads.
According to the Dallas Morning News, the photo had around 3,000 likes and more than 300 comments on the Texas official's page before it was removed on Monday around 11:15 a.m. It was posted Sunday around 5 p.m.
Todd Smith, a political consultant for Miller, told the Associated Press that he was unaware of why the post was removed from the commissioner's social media page. But instead of being angry with Miller over the post, he said, people should focus their criticisms toward Islamic terrorists, Iranian leaders and President Barack Obama and demand apologies for their words and actions.
"We think those are all issues that deserve an apology and are much more serious than a thought-provoking Facebook post," Smith said.
Smith said that Miller did not personally share the photo to his Facebook page but was not going to begin a "witch hunt" to find out who did. Smith also pointed out the many positive comments the post generated.
Luke Bullock, a special assistant to Miller, also told the Houston Chronicle that the post was shared by someone who works in Miller's campaign office, not by the commissioner himself. But unlike Smith, Bullock called the post "inappropriate" and said it did not align with Miller's views.
Smith told the Houston Chronicle that he wouldn't call it inappropriate, but said instead that it was "thought-provoking."
"Commissioner Miller does not believe we need to drop an atomic bomb on the entire Muslim population of the world, I can assure you that," Smith said.
Texas Democrats are demanding an apology from Miller.
"It is unacceptable for Republican Sid Miller to be promoting such disgusting rhetoric. Sadly, this kind of racist, xenophobic hate speech qualifies you for higher office with Republicans’ Tea Party fringe base," Manny Garcia, deputy executive director of the Texas Democratic Party, said in a statement. "We hope Sid Miller shows some respect for Texans and the responsibility of holding state office and issues an apology."
Miller is currently on a trip to China, according to his personal Facebook page. According to the Houston Chronicle, it's an 11-day trade mission and he'll return August 23.
Smith told the Houston Chronicle that Miller "has not made any bones about where he stands on the issue of radical Islamic terrorism."
In January, the Dallas Morning News reported that Miller told a crowd at the Texas Public Policy Foundation forum that his fear of the U.S. becoming a "Muslim country" kept him awake at night.