Press Releases

House Republican Candidates demonstrate disturbing pattern of hate speech; Oregon GOP stays silent

Apr 26, 2018

For Immediate Release
Contact: Molly Woon
(503) 367-4327
press [at] dpo [dot] org
April 26, 2018 

House Republican Candidates demonstrate disturbing pattern of hate speech; Oregon GOP stays silent  

PORTLAND — The Democratic Party of Oregon is once again calling on Republicans to condemn a disturbing pattern of hateful and intolerant speech, this time by Republican candidates for the Oregon House. 

Most recently: Republican Tom Donohue, a candidate on Oregon’s central coast, has been identified as promoting hate speech. His Facebook page shows offensive images, including a graphic featuring a side-by-side comparison of Democrats to Nazis. The image suggests that Democrats and Nazis are the same on a long list of issues. 

“The image posted by Mr. Donohue comparing Democrats to Nazis is simply disgusting and inappropriate,” said Jeanne Atkins, Chair of the Democratic Party of Oregon. 

Donahue joins candidates like Joshua Powell in House District 11 and George "Sonny" Yellott in House District 48 — both have been publicly condemned for espousing racist and anti-semitic views. In 2016, Yellott posted a meme on his Facebook page of President Barack Obama hanging by a noose. According to a recent article in the Eugene Register Guard, Powell “frequently makes vitriolic and expletive-filled anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim posts on social media.”  

“The Republican party is not doing nearly enough to distance itself from these behaviors,” said Atkins. “In fact, Oregon Republicans appear to be welcoming this sort of hate speech. Oregon conservatives continue to host offensive speakers like Roger Stone and John Guandolo. Meanwhile, leaders in the party have kept completely silent.” 

In February, Deschutes County Republicans hosted John Guandolo, a right-wing, Islamophobic conspiracy theorist. Local Republicans — including Gubernatorial hopeful Knute Buehler — said nothing when asked to condemn the visit or Guandolo’s rhetoric. 

Later that month, at the Dorchester Conference, the state’s largest gathering of conservatives each year, Republicans warmly welcomed Roger Stone — a self-proclaimed “dirty trickster”, who was banned from appearing on CNN and booted from Twitter because of his incendiary and hateful rhetoric. Given another chance for leaders in the Republican party to take a stand against hate speech, they kept silent. 

“These House candidates and this recent lineup of racist guests to Oregon all speak volumes about the values — or lack thereof — of the Oregon GOP. It is indefensible that leaders in the Republican party continue to keep quiet in the face of what is clearly identifiable hate speech,” said Atkins. “Far from giving Oregon voters an alternative to the far right rhetoric of the Trump administration, the Oregon GOP is doubling down. Republicans — especially those who want to lead their party as their gubernatorial nominee — need to step up and weigh in. Otherwise, their silence makes them complicit.”