The Fayette County Republican Party is under fire for a dartboard at the party’s booth at the Fayette County Fair that had pictures of four Democratic U.S. congresswomen taped to it.
Fayette County Republicans took down the dartboard this week after a fair attendee's Facebook post about it set off a string of complaints about the display.
Trinette Cunningham of Uniontown showed photos of first-term Democratic congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley, taped around the dartboard’s perimeter.
“Isn’t there enough hate, violence and divisiveness already?” Cunningham wrote Monday. “Have we reached that low of a point where any civil discussion is obsolete and instead encourage violence for those with differing opinions?”
Fayette County Republican Party Chairman Bill Kozlovich said the dartboard was taken down Monday following the complaint. It was up for two days prior to its removal.
“It was done as a fun joke for people around here that will never meet ‘the squad,’” Kozlovich said, referring to a nickname for the four progressive congresswomen of color. Ocasio-Cortez represents the 14th District of New York, Omar represents the 5th District of Minnesota, Pressley represents the 7th District of Massachusetts and Tlaib represents the 13th District of Michigan.
Kozlovich emphatically denied that the display was meant to promote violence or racism.
“This was only a game,” Kozlovich said.
State Rep. Matt Dowling, a Republican from Uniontown, doesn’t see it that way.
“I was shocked to learn about the recent actions taken at the Fayette County Fair and cannot stress enough how wrong it was,” Dowling said Tuesday. “Disagreement over issues is the basis of our republic and part of a healthy democracy, but when that disagreement veers into anything that can be seen as promoting violence against others, it is simply unacceptable.”
The Pennsylvania Democratic Party also spoke out against the display, calling it “a gross display of hate and intolerance targeting minority women.”
“Unlike his tax cuts, Donald Trump’s white supremacy has clearly trickled down,” said state Democratic Party Executive Director Sinceré Harris. “County officials are dehumanizing elected women of color without fear of public recourse from top leaders in the party.”
Harris called on Lawrence Tabas, who Republican State Committee members elected as chairman of the Pennsylvania Republican Party in July, to condemn the display and put forth a plan to combat white supremacy at the local level.
The Pennsylvania Republican Party could not be immediately reached for comment Wednesday.
Trump targeted the four members of “the squad” earlier in July on Twitter, writing that they “originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world.”
Trump blasted the women for weighing in on “how our government is to be run” and suggested that they “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came.”
But of the four congresswomen, only Omar wasn’t born in the U.S. Omar was born in Somalia, which she and her family fled amid the country’s civil war when she was 8. Omar and her family lived in a refugee camp in Kenya for four years before coming to the U.S.
Powered by a Democratic majority, the House of Representatives voted to condemn Trump’s tweets telling the four congresswomen to “go back” earlier in July.
Kozlovich said that since the dartboard was taken down, fairgoers have been asking where it went and saying that they had liked the display. And Kozlovich thinks people are making too much of a big deal out of what he said was a way for fairgoers to jokingly express their dislike for the congresswomen.
“It’s unbelievable,” Kozlovich said.