Tom Eckerle, a Leelanau County, Mich. Road Commissioner is facing major backlash and calls to resign after he went on a racist rant, all because another commissioner asked him why he wasn’t wearing a mask, the Washington Post reports.
“Well, this whole thing is because of them n—ers in Detroit,” Eckerle reportedly responded to the other commissioner at a local meeting in northern Michigan earlier this week at the very beginning of the very public meeting, with zero concern.
According to the report, Leelanau County Road Commission chair Bob Joyce immediately called out the comment, but Eckerle remained unbothered claiming, “I can say anything I want…Black Lives Matter has everything to do with taking the country away from us.”
Soon local and state officials, including Gov. Gretchen Whitmer who recently declared racism a public health crisis, began demanding that Eckerle resign.
“Governor Whitmer believes that Road Commissioner Tom Eckerle must resign immediately. His comments are atrocious,” the governor’s spokesperson Tiffany Brown told the Detroit News in a statement. “The Governor has been very clear—there’s no place for hate and racism in Michigan.”
Joyce has also condemned Eckerle calling the comments “absolutely horrific.”
Joyce and three other commissioners have also asked that Eckerle step down.
However, Eckerle has instead doubled down on his racist remarks, using the slur repeatedly in an interview with Interlochen Public Radio.
“I don’t regret calling it a n–ger,” he told the radio station. “A n–ger is a n–ger is a n–ger. That’s not a person whatsoever.”
He has flat out refused to resign.
Currently, as the Post points out, Eckerle is two years into a six-year term, and if he continues to refuse to resign, voters would have to petition a recall or the county would have to request that the governor remove him from his position.