Former GOP Senate candidate Gabriel Gomez apologizes after throwing ‘Klan’ label at activists
Former Republican US Senate nominee Gabriel E. Gomez apologized Monday after lashing out at two conservative activists and likening them to members of the Ku Klux Klan.
“Over the weekend, I regrettably used inappropriate language to share my disagreement with some with whom I disagree on specific social and policy-related issues,” he wrote. “...I failed to live up to the standard of discourse every leader should strive for.”
Gomez posted the apology Monday afternoon, after his digital screed against two conservative activists caused a firestorm on social media.
“[T]he level of ignorance and intolerance exhibited by them and their small ‘Klan’ are an embarrassment to our civil society. Merry Christmas,” he wrote on Facebook over the weekend.
Gomez subsequently took down the Facebook post, but defended his words. Hours before issuing his apology, he said he did not regret writing it.
He insisted his “Klan” reference was “obviously not” referring to the Ku Klux Klan.
“If I wanted to refer to the Ku Klux Klan, I would have just said KKK,” he argued in an interview with the Globe Monday morning.
Asked why he took down the post if he did not regret putting it online, Gomez said, “I figured, who knows what these guys were going to do with it.”
Gomez, who lost this year’s US Senate special election by 10 points to Edward J. Markey, targeted his weekend writing at Rob Eno, the publisher of Red Mass Group, a conservative blog, and Christopher Pinto, a Worcester Republican. Eno posted a screen grab of Gomez’s post on his blog on Sunday.
Gomez said Monday morning that his comment was not prompted by any one specific article or piece, but rather was a general response to Red Mass Group, as well as to activists questioning whether he, GOP gubernatorial hopeful Charlie Baker, and former US senator Scott Brown, were real Republicans.
Part of what prompted his post, Gomez said, were protests against Brown in New Hampshire on Thursday, when more than 100 gun rights advocates gathered to oppose the former senator, who said in December 2012 that he supported a federal ban on assault weapons.
Gomez said he would decide on any future runs for political office in the new year. On Monday, he criticized Red Mass Group for its views on “immigration reform to gay marriage to how to deal the economy and everything — it’s just not productive.”
“They have views that are shared by probably a dozen people,” Gomez said. “They drown out what reasonable people are trying to accomplish.”
Gomez said he did not regularly read the blog, but people forward posts from it to him.
Eno said in an e-mail he appreciated Gomez’s apology, but, added it “is a little puzzling coming a few hours after he vigorously defended his characterization on both the radio and to the Boston Globe.”
“I’m still not sure exactly what policy positions I have taken that he is trying to characterize,” Eno said. “I look forward to putting this whole situation behind me...”
Earlier, Eno noted that both he and Pinto had worked to help Gomez in his run against Markey.
This not the first time Gomez has faced controversy for heated rhetoric.
In an interview with a National Public Radio reporter in May, Gomez called Markey “dirty and low — pond scum” for running a Web video that juxtaposed an image of Gomez with a picture of Osama bin Laden.
Gomez was criticized for that comment and, in a July interview, he said he would have done “that one differently.”Joshua Miller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jm_bos.