A Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade in Forth Worth, Texas, was dampened due to a Republican who flashed what’s known to be a white power sign in the middle of a photo.
According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, The Tarrant County Young Republicans posted the photo to their Facebook page. It showed a group of about 20 people posing with the Republican Party banner at the parade, which was on Monday. One of the guys in the picture is making the OK symbol, which the Anti-Defamation League identifies as a hate symbol under specific circumstances.
The man in the photo was identified as Robert Coe. He just so happens to be the precinct chairman for precinct 1111 in Fort Worth. Precinct chairs are elected every two years and they oversee voter registration. Back in December, the Tarrant County Young Republicans named him “Young Republican of the Year”.
Eventually, the Tarrant County Young Republicans apologized for posting the photo and they took it down from their Facebook and Twitter pages. When asked about his actions in the photo, Coe told the Star-Telegram “that situation has already been taken care of.”
“There is no need to report on it,” he continued. “The situation has been resolved.” Then Coe hung up the phone and didn’t address any further questions.
The Tarrant County Young Republicans tried to explain Coe’s gesture, by responding to a user in a tweet, “It’s not a real white power symbol, he does that b/c he thinks it’s funny how crazy leftists get over a fake symbol. Nonetheless, it was inappropriate/dumb, and we’ll be talking w/ him. Rest assured though, he is no white supremacist. Bit of a troll perhaps…but a good kid.”
In response to tweets slamming Coe’s actions, the Young Republicans also tweeted, “That’s fair, and at this point he realizes how dumb, inappropriate, and offensive it was and is very sorry.”
Tarrant County Republican Party Chairman Rick Barnes insisted that he spoke with Coe after witnessing the photo, and the 20-year-old told him he threw up the symbol “as a spoof.”
“He denies any misgivings, but our position is that we were down here to support the parade and support the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and anything that did not fall in line with that, we consider to be absolutely wrong,” Barnes said.
Barnes said that he doesn’t believe the symbol means anything, however, he said it was inappropriate for Coe to show it at a parade. He said that his group talked with Coe about “being mature and acting responsibility.”
Meanwhile, this same guy is responsible for voter registration in a state that already has voter suppression laws such as requiring voters to have ID. The ACLU has said that such a policy “deprive many voters of their right to vote, reduce participation, and stand in direct opposition to our country’s trend of including more Americans in the democratic process.” They added, “Many Americans do not have one of the forms of identification states acceptable for voting. These voters are disproportionately low-income, racial and ethnic minorities, the elderly, and people with disabilities.”