Marine veteran Mark Salvas was forced to resign his post as the executive director of the Allegheny County Democratic Committee in Pennsylvania on Tuesday over social media posts deemed by others in the party to be "racist."
What did he say?
Three separate Facebook posts from Salvas' account are reportedly what caused his ouster. The first was from last year, where Salvas posted a picture of himself and his wife with the message, "I stand for the flag, I kneel for the cross," apparently referring to NFL players kneeling during the national anthem out of protest.
In a second post from June of this year, Salvas' wife made a plea for donations to help with the legal defense of former East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld. Rosfeld is a lifelong friend of Salvas and is currently facing a charge of criminal homicide for shooting 17-year-old Antwon Rose II this summer during a traffic stop.
Salvas' post said, "Michael Rosfeld and his family have been like family to me. I know him to be a very dedicated officer."
The third post that came up in the social media controversy showed a picture of a Confederate Flag with the message, "A crazy guy shoots up a church and you ban a flag. People stomp on the American Flag and you say it's their right?!? That's a special kind of stupid."
How did party members respond?
State Democrat Committee Chairwoman Nancy Mills acknowledged to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that Salvas was asked to step down by County Chairwoman Eileen Kelly earlier in the week.
"We have a zero tolerance for sexual harassment or racism of any kind," Mills said. "I think Chairwoman Kelly made the right decision once she was aware of the issues."
Committee member and state Rep. Ed Gainey (D) also weighed in Salvas' posts, telling the Trib, "I'm not sure how to comprehend what he has up there, but it's insensitive to African-Americans. The action was wrong. The action was insensitive, and for that he had to go.
"African-Americans are the backbone of the Democratic Party, and you can't have someone at the head of your party not understanding the backbone of the party," he added.
Salvas — who had just been hired by the committee last month — told KDKA-TV on Wednesday, "I was asked by the chair of the Allegheny County Democratic Party to resign my position due to the controversy that was taking place on social media, and I did."
He added, "It's never easy when people you have never met accuse you of things and call you names, and you've never met them."
But Salvas, who served in the Gulf War, was not apologetic about his posts.
"I'm not ashamed of my patriotism, not one bit. I fought for this country," he told KDKA. "I think I have a right to have a voice and be patriotic."
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