Jeb Bush accepted the resignation late Tuesday of the digital guru he had recruited for his likely 2016 presidential campaign after racially insensitive comments the aide previously made surfaced and threatened to undermine Bush’s bid for the White House.
Ethan Czahor, who had been hired as chief technology officer for Bush’s Right to Rise political action committee in preparation for Bush’s likely campaign, made a string of inflammatory remarks in 2008 on the Web site of his college radio show.
The comments, first reported Tuesday afternoon by The Huffington Post, included Czahor’s praise for the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. for not speaking in “jibberish” nor wearing “pants sagged to his ankles,” as well as commentary that “black parents need to get their sh@# together” because too many black babies were being born into single-parent households.
Within a few hours of the revelations, Czahor, a co-founder of Hipster.com, offered his resignation and Bush accepted it. “The Right to Rise PAC accepted Ethan Czahor’s resignation today,” Bush spokeswoman Kristy Campbell said in a statement. “While Ethan has apologized for regrettable and insensitive comments, they do not reflect the views of Governor Bush or his organization and it is appropriate for him to step aside. We wish him the best.”
Late Tuesday, Czahor tweeted, “I only hope that my recent news won’t dissuade future techies from entering politics, regardless of political affiliations/backgrounds… and I’ve resigned my role at Right to Rise. Best of luck to everyone there, and I apologize in advance to whoever fills my position.”
Bush, a former Florida governor, has been aggressively raising money and preparing for what allies see as an all-but-certain presidential run. Considered an establishment favorite for the Republican nomination, Bush has been testing a campaign message based on expanding economic opportunity to all Americans, especially minorities.
Czahor’s comments threatened to undermine Bush’s outreach to minority communities. Shortly after Czahor’s hiring was first reported on Monday by Time.com, Democratic operatives highlighted some of his old Twitter posts, which included offensive messages about “sluts.” Czahor deleted many of the tweets, but not before they were catalogued by Buzzfeed.
Bush stood by Czahor amid the social media storm. Campbell issued a statement on Monday saying, “Governor Bush believes the comments were inappropriate. They have been deleted at our request. Ethan is a great talent in the tech world and we are very excited to have him on board the Right to Rise PAC.”
Czahor, however, could not survive the racially insensitive comments that surfaced on Tuesday.