After a black doll was found hanging with a noose around its neck at a Philadelphia playground Thursday, the city's far-left mayor wasted no time blaming a favorite target of his: President Donald Trump.
“I am sickened by what took place today at Weccacoe Playground," Democratic Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement. "Although the investigation is still underway, I want to immediately condemn this despicable act. It demonstrates how far this country has fallen when people are inspired by the hateful rhetoric of our president."
Kenney added that it was "particularly disgraceful to make a sacrilege out of a sacred burial ground, where thousands of African Americans are interred. The City will do everything in its power to bring the people responsible to justice for this disgusting act.”
The area was the former burial ground for Mother Bethel AME Church, which intensified reactions.
Then the truth comes out
Well, it turns out the hanging doll apparently came courtesy of two boys under 13 — one white and one black — who said they hung it after finding it on a roof of a structure in the park and thinking it was "creepy," WCAU-TV reported.
"Later they found the noose, the hangman’s noose, and thought better to put the noose around the baby doll’s neck and just hang it in an area to scare people," the Rev. Mark Kelly Tyler, Mother Bethel AME’s senior pastor, told the station.
"They had no idea about the historical legacy of lynching, what that image would do, the terror that it put into people," Tyler added to WCAU.
Tyler called Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross to share what the boys told him, the station reported, and Tyler said he was told surveillance video from the park appeared to corroborate the boys’ story.
How did Pennsylvania's GOP react to Kenney's words?
Pennsylvania Republican Chairman Val DiGiorgio on Friday issued a statement ripping Kenney for jumping the gun with blame.
“Mayor Kenney owes the president an apology," DiGiorgio said. "In fact, he owes the citizens of Pennsylvania an apology."
He added that Kenney blamed Trump "for a racially insensitive teenage prank without regard for the truth" while “subscribing to the ‘never let them facts get in the way of politics’ theory" in an effort to "try to score cheap political points."
“Yet again, Mayor Kenney has abused his role as the mayor of one of America’s leading cities," DiGiorgio added. "He put petty, partisan politics above leadership and civic duty."
Did Kenney issue any follow-up remarks?
When asked for comment in light of the new information, Kenney's spokesman told WCAU the mayor's statement is unchanged.
There were no follow-up statements on two Twitter accounts tied to Kenney, either, but a few folks managed to chime in with comments about the mayor's apparently itchy trigger finger:
- One commenter noted it's a "shame that [Kenney] doesn't find it in himself to apologize, instead prays that the story dies and people forget."
- Another wrote, "It's good to know you're all over the big issues, and not just grandstanding over an isolated incident for political reasons. PS - Have you found that missing $33 million yet?"
- "I am sure your next tweet will be an apology to [Trump] ... crickets chirping," another said.
- "This has nothing to do with the president," another commenter noted, adding that it's about "a one-term mayor who can't keep his hands out of junk food and going to parties instead of leading the city to a more prosperous future."
What else has Kenney been up to?
- The mayor said last month that Philadelphia no longer would grant ICE access to its real-time arrest database, saying the agency has abused it to target illegal immigrants who aren’t committing any other crimes.
- Kenney did a little song and dance in June when a federal judge ruled that the Trump administration can’t halt grants to Philadelphia over its “sanctuary city” status for illegal immigrants.
- He also noted that he stands for the national anthem because he’s a “privileged white male” and called Trump a “fragile egomaniac obsessed with crowd size” over the president’s decision to rescind the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles’ invitation to visit the White House because the team decided to send only a handful of players.
- After police confirmed that a suspect who attempted to “execute” a Philadelphia police officer in 2016 claimed to have done so in the name of Islam, Kenney told reporters the attack wasn’t connected to Islam in any way.
- Kenney was also behind an unpopular city tax on sugary drinks that debuted in 2017.