As reported by CNBC, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster, a Republican, has come under fire from state Democrats after remarking on them during a recent Republican Party event. McMaster’s comment has sparked demands for an apology and calls for investigating what some perceive as a racially tinged dog whistle.
During a state GOP convention, McMaster stated, “I look forward to the day that Democrats are so rare, we have to hunt them with dogs,” as reported by Joseph Bustos, a journalist for The State newspaper, via Twitter. The comment quickly drew condemnation from South Carolina Democrats, who insisted that McMaster apologize for his remarks.
The Anderson County Democratic Party has even shared an online petition demanding an apology and a retraction of what they see as a racially charged statement. Additionally, they called on the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division to investigate the incident as a potential threat and incitement of political violence if the governor did not apologize.
Chris Salley, chairman of the Anderson County Democratic Party, expressed his disappointment in McMaster’s words, highlighting their impact on marginalized communities. Salley, who identifies as a Black gay man, emphasized that such rhetoric emboldens violent extremists, hampers political discourse, and must be condemned.
Chairwoman of the South Carolina Democratic Party, Christine Spain, echoed these sentiments, describing McMaster’s comments as “absolutely chilling.” Spain, who is also Black, stressed that the majority of the Democratic electorate in South Carolina consists of Black voters. She expressed concern over a governor openly expressing a desire to “hunt down” members of his state’s electorate, particularly in light of the historical context of racial violence in the South.
In response to the outcry from Democrats, Brandon Charochak, a spokesperson for McMaster, defended the governor’s remarks, stating that similar comments had been made at previous GOP conventions. Charochak argued that every day South Carolinians understood it as a light-hearted joke. He further suggested that South Carolina Democrats focus their energy on winning instead of complaining if they could not tolerate such fools.
This is not Governor McMaster’s first time referring to Democrats as “dogs.” in 2018 during a barbecue event, he made a similar comment, stating that Democrats were “really nice” one-on-one but “dangerous” in a pack. At the time, he praised former President Donald Trump and emphasized the importance of working hard to make progress in South Carolina.
The controversy surrounding Governor McMaster’s recent comment highlights the deepening political divide in South Carolina and raises concerns about the tone and rhetoric used by political leaders in the state. The demand for an apology and the call for an investigation reflects the growing sensitivity to statements that may perpetuate divisive narratives and provoke potential harm to marginalized communities.