The mayor of a northern California city said Monday he's stepping down in the wake of outrage over his social media posts against President Donald Trump and his supporters, KTXL-TV reported.
What are the details?
Auburn Mayor William Kirby — who's also a physician — admitted to the city council Monday that some of his posts were over the top, the station said.
One post shows a photo of a hooded Ku Klux Klan member with the caption, "Good news for Trump supporters is that most of them already have masks." Kirby commented, "True."
Another post shows Kirby writing to another social media user: "If Hitler and everyone who supported him was removed from the face of the earth in 1939, the world would be a much better place. The same is more true of Trump and his supporters today."
The Auburn Journal said Kirby commented on a repost of a story in the Atlantic under the headline, "The President is Trapped" by saying, "That right-wing corona virus denier Boris Johnson just got hospitalized. Guess which 2 should be next!!!! And god bless all those evangelicals going to church in large groups…. There is no cure for stupid…. But they all vote for Trump anyway so it is ok…."
There are also screenshots of an online exchange depicting Kirby telling another person, "F*** off you right-wing nut case" and "you un-American Nazi clown."
Image source: KDVR-TV video screenshot
What did one council member have to say?
"I abhor the things that he has said and done, and I did not hear an apology from him tonight," Councilwoman Cheryl Maki said during Monday's video-conference meeting, according to KTXL. She added that "it would be appropriate" if Kirby "would hand the gavel over to Vice Mayor [Matt] Spokely this evening and let him run the meeting," the station said.
Kirby's response? "No," KTXL reported.
Image source: KTXL-TV video screenshot
Kirby said he will step down as mayor at the next council meeting, which is scheduled for April 27, KTXL-TV said.
What else did the mayor have to say?
Kirby sent KDVR-TV the following statement regarding the situation:
I have spent 40 years of my life dedicated to serving Auburn as a physician and through my volunteer efforts.
Some people have viewed my posts, which were meant to be private and made out of frustration, as over the top. Some were, and I regret that.
I want to share with you where my frustrations have come from. As a doctor I see nurses, respiratory therapists, other medical staff, first responders, and my medical colleagues as well as their patients dying unnecessarily because of the lack of preparation for the Corona virus, the president has put us all at risk.
I believe history will judge those who stood up against damaging policies and ideologies and those that did not.
In an interview with the Journal, Kirby said he's not a Democrat but "a fiscal conservative that believes in equality for everybody." He also told the paper that the controversial posts are unrelated to his mayoral duties: "[Facebook] is not a city site. It's a personal site. This has nothing to do with my job. I re-posted it. I think [Trump] is a racist, absolutely."
Apparently this isn't a new development
Councilwoman Maki told the Journal she received "so many private messages on my Facebook account [about Kirby's posts] I haven't had a chance to respond to anybody."
"It's unfortunate our mayor is spending his time posting hate speech on Facebook when there are so many more important things at this time," Maki added to the paper. "We talked to him [in the past]. He promised not to do it anymore, and he continues to post hate speech. It's divisive, unnecessary, and it's harmful to our community."
She also told the Journal, "He needs to make a public apology for what he's done. Referring to one side as KKK is unacceptable. It's hateful and wrong."
After the controversy started brewing, a couple of anti-Kirby Facebook pages were created: William Kirby, mayor of Auburn California fan club and Remove William Kirby from Council — Wishing Death on His Constituents.
Frank Oradaz — who's known Kirby for a decade — told KDVR, "I don't necessarily support Trump, but anytime somebody feels like you like the policies of the president, then you're a racist, you're a bigot, you should die, and I think that's uncalled for."