Local Texas Democratic party declines to accept resignation of chair who called U.S. Sen Tim Scott an “Oreo”

U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-South Carolina, and Lamar County Democratic Party Chair Gary O’Connor.                    Credit: The Texas Tribune
U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-South Carolina, and Lamar County Democratic Party Chair Gary O’Connor. Credit: The Texas Tribune

The Lamar County Democratic Party is not accepting the resignation of its chair after he reportedly used the slur “Oreo” to describe U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, who is Black, in a now-deleted Facebook post, according to a statement provided to The Texas Tribune.

Representatives of the Lamar County Democrats met Tuesday to consider the resignation of Gary O’Connor, the Lamar County Democratic Party chair. However, the party said in a statement that they decided not to accept the resignation after taking the “last few days to reflect upon this incident.”

“Lamar County Democrats recommit ourselves to conduct our private conversations and our public social media discussions with anti-racist, pro-reconciling attitudes and language,” the party wrote in a statement. “We strongly condemn bigotry of any kind and will continue our historic efforts to work for justice and equality for all our fellow citizens.”

In a letter to Scott, a South Carolina Republican, O’Connor apologized for using the term, which refers to a “Black person who adopts the characteristic mentality and behavior of white middle-class society,” according to Merriam-Webster. In a previous statement provided to the Washington Examiner, he said he had embarrassed himself and his party, and offered his resignation from the Lamar County Democratic Party.

“To Sen. Tim Scott, the residents of Lamar County, especially our Black residents, and to my family and friends, I profoundly apologize for the racially insensitive remark I made towards Sen. Scott last week,” O’Connor said in a statement provided to the Tribune. “I was wrong and I apologize.”

O’Connor used the term on Facebook after Scott gave the official Republican response to President Joe Biden’s address to Congress on Thursday, according to various media reports. During the rebuttal, Scott, the only Black Republican U.S. Senator, said that “America is not a racist country” and said that he has been called “Uncle Tom” and racial obscenities by Democrats.

The speech prompted outcry from many Democrats and people of color, many of whom noted that Republicans in many state legislatures — including Texas — are pushing measures that would add new restrictions on voting that would disproportionately affect people of color.

Multiple Republican politicians in Texas, including Gov. Greg Abbott and state GOP Chair Allen West, condemned O'Connor's use of the phrase before he announced his intent to resign.