Nevada GOP chairman supports councilwoman accused of ‘inappropriate’ race comments

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Steve Marcus

City of Las Vegas Mayor Pro Tem Michele Fiore responds to questions during a news conference at her home Thursday, June 11, 2020. Fiore apologized if her comments during Saturday’s Clark County Republican Convention offended anyone.

Sat, Jun 13, 2020 (8:28 p.m.)

Nevada Republican Party Chairman Michael McDonald does not consider Las Vegas councilwoman Michele Fiore to be a racist, criticizing leaks from within his own party to the media of Fiore’s supposed racially-charged comments at last weekend’s Clark County Republican Convention.

McDonald, speaking Saturday at the GOP’s virtual state convention, said he was not present during Fiore’s speech and claimed party investigators couldn’t find video or audio of the alleged remarks.

“Countless phone calls were made. We asked for evidence. There is no tape that was given to us. We asked for statements. They were never given to us,” McDonald said. “In the end, we are sitting here crucifying one of our own on speculations, rumors and interpretations of a person’s speech.”

Fiore allegedly made remarks critical of affirmative action, and the Clark County GOP released a statement labeling her views as “clearly inappropriate” and “counter to the thoughtful remarks of every other speaker and counter to the beliefs of the Clark County Republican Party.”

Fiore on Thursday apologized if she offended anyone but said she remains opposed to affirmative action. Fiore says she is candid because of her New York roots but doesn’t want anyone to think she’s racist, she said.

“Sometimes I can get a little Brooklyn when unscripted, but I never want to portray or have anyone thinking there’s a racist bone in my body,” she said.

McDonald said that some people don’t like the way Fiore “speaks,” which he chalked up to jealousy.

“It’s jealously we have a woman who tells it like it is,” she said. “She’s saying the message, but one thing about it, she may offend some people and she apologized for that”

McDonald appealed to Republicans to hold ranks and not go public with problems, saying they can either “stand together” or “all fall.”

“When you do what happened in the media this last week, all you did was give fodder to the Democrats,” he said. “You give smoke-filled phrases to the Democrats. You give meaningless words to the Democrats that they can go on TV and give to their reporter friends.”

He continued by asking Republicans to call out anyone “tearing another Republican down.”

“Take them aside, pull their group aside and say ‘enough is enough, you’re either on the team or you’re not,’” McDonald said.

And Fiore is clearly part of the team — she was elected Saturday to the Republican National Committee.

Nevada to turn back red?

Presidential Donald Trump’s reelection campaign views Nevada as a state that’s winnable in November against Joe Biden, even though Democrats continue to outnumber Republicans in registered voters by about 127,000. Trump lost by two percentage points here against Hillary Clinton in 2016.

McDonald described the presidential race as a fight for the future of the country, claiming that there is a push by Democrats to usher in “socialism.”

“You are here to do battle,” he told convention attendees. “To fight for the president of the United States, to fight for yourselves and to fight for the state of Nevada.”

Assemblyman Jim Wheeler, R-Minden, said reelecting Trump is the most important thing to get the country back on its feet after the impact of the coronavirus. He called out perceived media bias, saying Trump could cure cancer and the press would complain he put doctors out of business.

“Here’s a guy who has done nothing for himself during his presidency and has done everything for his country,” Wheeler said.

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