GOP Governor Facing Backlash After Joking About Hunting Democrats With Dogs

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Republican South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster is facing calls to apologize after reportedly joking at a GOP convention May 20 about hunting Democrats with dogs.

While at a state GOP convention Saturday where Republicans gathered to select their state part chairman, McMaster reportedly told audience members, “I look forward to the day that Democrats are so rare, we have to hunt them with dogs,” Joseph Bustos, a reporter for The State, tweeted during the event.

McMaster’s remarks were met with backlash from South Carolina’s Democrats who posted an online petition, urging McMaster to apologize for what Anderson County Democratic chair Chris Salley described as a “racially-tinged dog whistle.”

“If the Governor is not willing to apologize and retract this racially-tinged dog whistle, Anderson County Democrats join the Charleston County Democratic Party in asking the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) to open an investigation into this threat and incitement of political violence,” Salley wrote in an accompanying note with the petition.

“As a Black, Gay man in America, I’ve had to be on guard for people trying to ‘hunt me down’ most of my life and I know thousands of people across South Carolina are forced to feel the same,” Salley continued in another release. “This rhetoric emboldens violent extremists, chills political discourse, and needs to end.” (RELATED: Biden Attacks ‘MAGA Republicans’ In Angry Speech, Labels Them ‘Threat’ To Democracy)

Brandon Charochak, a spokesman for McMaster, dismissed the governor’s remarks, stating that he had made similar comments at other GOP conventions that “everyday South Carolinians” understood to be jokes, NBC News reported.

“If South Carolina Democrat partisans can no longer bear light-hearted jokes made at their expense, then maybe they should focus their energy on winning and not whining,” Charochak stated, according to the outlet.