NEWARK, Ohio — A county official in Ohio is apologizing after a newspaper quoted him as saying presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton “should be hanging from a tree.”
Licking County Commissioner Duane Flowers read a prepared apology during a meeting Thursday, after The (Newark) Advocate reported on the comment he made during a meeting earlier this week.
Flowers says he made the remark during a casual conversation with two other officials and a reporter from The Advocate that he thought was off the record.
Flowers says he “will never again have a casual conversation with a reporter.”
Licking County Democratic Party Chairwoman Grace Cherrington says Flowers’ remarks promote “violence and divisiveness.”
Newark, Ohio, is about 30 miles east of the state capital of Columbus.
Last week, a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates caused a stir after tweeting that Clinton should be “hung on the Mall in Washington, DC.”
CBS Huntington, West Virginia affiliate WOWK-TV reports Michael Folk, a Republican legislator who’s also a United Airlines pilot, posted a tweet last Friday night saying, “Hillary Clinton, you should be tried for treason, murder, and crimes against the US Constitution … then hung on the Mall in Washington, DC.”
Folk told the station he posted the tweet over the FBI’s decision not to charge Clinton over the investigation into her private email server.
The tweet, which has since been deleted, drew a swift rebuke from his employer, United Airlines.
“We are appalled by comments advocating harm to any person,” said airline spokesperson Mary Clark. “They do not represent United Airlines and we are looking into the matter further.”
United subsequently suspended Folk, pending the results of its investigation.
The tweet also sparked a backlash on social media.
But Folk later said the tweet wasn’t meant to be taken literally and was merely “hyperbole.”
Folk said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press he still wants Clinton to go on trial, but he doesn’t want her executed.
“It could have been said a little bit better,” Folk said. “I regret the tone, and the second part of that tweet.
“The biggest misconception is that for some reason, everybody thinks I made a death threat, which I did not. Clearly it was not that.”
The Justice Department announced earlier this month Clinton would not be prosecuted over her handling of classified information.
Folk said he sent the tweet after watching a video of testimony before a U.S. House committee over the Clinton emails.
“I watch something like that that gets me riled up, I usually just sleep on it and maybe do something the next day,” he said. “I should have done that.”
The state Democratic Party has called for his resignation. Folk said he won’t resign.
Folk also said he hasn’t directly talked with the state GOP about it.
Folk, who said he’s received death threats over the comments, is seeking a third term. The Martinsburg resident ran unopposed in the May Repupblican primary and will face Democrat and Berkeley County Sheriff Kenny Lemaster in November.