Va. Republicans call for ouster of party official who said Christians should oppose non-Christians running for office

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Virginia Republicans have called for the ouster of a party official who said only Christians should run for party positions.

“Having a preference for Christians over non-Christians as political leaders is not bigoted,” Fredy Burgos said this week in a Facebook post promoting his favored candidate, Tim Hannigan, for the chairmanship of the Fairfax County Republican Committee against a Jewish rival, Mike Ginsberg. “It is a preference and a duty we are allowed.”

Hannigan and Ginsberg are running to chair the committee in Fairfax County, comprising suburbs of Washington, D.C.

Burgos, an elected member of the county party committee, removed the post after it was attacked on the conservative Virginia blog Bearing Drift. He subsequently posted about his “affection” for Jews.

But top Republicans in the state called for his removal, noting his history of making controversial comments. During the presidential campaign, Burgos, a backer of Donald Trump, made anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant comments on social media. He removed them following requests by party officials.

Among those calling for Burgos’ removal were the area congresswoman, Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Va. and John Whitbeck, the state party chairman, as well as an array of Fairfax County GOP leaders. Hannigan removed Burgos as an adviser but stopped short of calling for his removal as a party official. Bearing Drift compiled the Republican calls for his removal.

“Fredy Burgos and his bigoted, backwards views have no place in the Republican Party — the party of Lincoln and Reagan,” said Comstock, whose district includes a substantial Jewish community. “It is long past time for him to step aside from any official Republican position.”

The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington thanked Whitbeck and Matt Ames, the chairman of the Fairfax GOP committee, for calling for the ouster of Burgos and their “speedy and unequivocal denouncement of Fredy Burgos’ anti-Semitic message.”

Ron Halber, the JCRC’s executive director, and Darcy Hirsh, the director of the JCRC’s northern Virginia outreach, also thanked Comstock in a separate letter.

The Anti-Defamation League’s Washington office also commended the Virginia Republicans “for making it clear that religious intolerance has no place in the state.”

Burgos was invited to the White House in October for Hispanic Heritage Month. According to a pool report, he wore a red baseball cap with the slogan “Build the Wall,” a reference to Trump’s campaign pledge to build a barrier between Mexico and the United States.