COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Two Republican county officials in South Carolina are apologizing after they disparaged Jews in a newspaper op-ed in support of a fiscally conservative U.S. senator.
The controversial comments were triggered by an op-ed by Rep. Bakari Sellers published in The State newspaper. Sellers said Republican Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina lets federal money go to other states when it could instead come to the Palmetto State.
In a response published in the Orangeburg Times & Democrat, county chairmen Edwin Merwin and Jim Ulmer wrote: "There is a saying that the Jews who are wealthy got that way not by watching dollars, but instead by taking care of the pennies and the dollars taking care of themselves."
DeMint called Merwin and Ulmer's comment thoughtless and hurtful. One of South Carolina's two Jewish legislators, Democratic Sen. Joel Lourie, said he was outraged by the remark.
"The words of these key Republican leaders are disgusting, unconscionable and represent prejudice in its purest form," Lourie said in a statement. "To say that I am shocked and outraged is an understatement."
Monday evening, Lourie called on the chairmen to be removed.
"At a time when we can least afford more negative attention for South Carolina, we have two individuals who unapologetically espouse racist and stereotypical attitudes," Lourie continued.
State GOP Chairwoman Karen Floyd also called the statement absolutely unacceptable.