Va. Republican leaders call on GOP party treasurer to resign over Facebook post


File: Virginia State Delegate Barbara Comstock. Virginia GOP treasurer Bob FitzSimmonds has apologized for a crude Facebook post he made in response to a comment about Comstock. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

The chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia says he hopes Bob FitzSimmonds will step down from his post as party treasurer over a crude Facebook post discussing Del. Barbara J. Comstock (R-Fairfax).

“Indefensible statements like this do more than just embarrass the Republican Party of Virginia. They give the media and Democrats an excuse to talk about anything other than the impact of their disastrous policies on our Commonwealth and country,” Chairman Pat Mullins said. “I would hope that Bob would do the right thing for the party and step down.”

The statement came shortly after Republican leaders in Virginia’s House of Delegates called for FitzSimmonds resignation.

“The comments made recently by Bob FitzSimmonds are offensive and have no place in mainstream society or our political discourse,” House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford), Majority Leader M. Kirkland Cox (R-Colonial Heights) and caucus Chairman Timothy D. Hugo (R-Fairfax) wrote.

“They do not reflect our values or principles and they are deeply inconsistent with the tone and tenor we believe is appropriate for public debate. Mr. FitzSimmonds should resign from his position as Treasurer of the Republican Party of Virginia and we call on him to do so immediately,” they said.

During a discussion of the Republican primary for the congressional seat being vacated by Rep Frank R. Wolf (R), FitzSimmonds responded angrily to a Facebook commenter who predicted that women would come out in force for Comstock (R-Fairfax) and did not want to see the delegate pushed out of the race by a man.

In response, FitzSimmonds wrote that he had “nothing against Barbara Comstock” but that he considered the comment “sexist.” He went on to use an offensive slang word sometimes used to refer to women.

Comstock faces several conservative challengers in the primary, even as Democrats argue that she is too conservative for the Northern Virginia district.

When his comment attracted ire, FitzSimmonds apologized and said he mistakenly believed the word had the same meaning as “twaddle.”

Del. Christopher Kilian Peace (R-Hanover) sent a letter to Mullins earlier Thursday in which he called for FitzSimmonds’s resignation.

“The bottom line is that the comments regarding Del. Barbara Comstock were disgusting and highly offensive,” Peace wrote. “They degrade women and are unbecoming of a party official.”

Peace and Comstock have been working together on domestic violence legislation, which Democrats in the state Senate killed last week.

Eleven Republican delegates later signed on to Peace’s letter: Thomas Davis Rust (Fairfax), Gordon C. Helsel Jr. (Poquoson), Margaret B. Ransone (Westmoreland), Roxann L. Robinson (Chesterfield), John M. O’Bannon III (Henrico), Michael J. Webert (Fauquier), G. Manoli Loupassi (Richmond), Ronald A. Villanueva (Virginia Beach), Hyland F. Fowler Jr. (Hanover), Joesph R. Yost (Giles) and Peter F. Farrell (Henrico).

The party treasurer attracted attention in 2012 for a Facebook post predicting that President Obama would blame George W. Bush when Obama ends up in hell.

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.
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