Delaware GOP leader reverses course, says homophobic slur was ‘a mistake’

New Castle County Republican Party Chairman Chris Rowe (NBC10)

New Castle County Republican Party Chairman Chris Rowe (NBC10)

The chair of the New Castle County Republican Committee in Delaware told WHYY on Friday that he was sorry for using a crude homophobic slur on Facebook – one day after saying critics were childishly overreacting to what he called “locker room” talk.

Chris Rowe also confirmed with WHYY Friday that he was resigning the post he had held since June, but was merely lashing out at the social media site after a video of Sunday’s Texas church shooting was removed from his page.

“Faggots cannot handle reality,’’ Rowe had posted in response to a friend’s comment on his page.

But instead of lashing out at critics, as he had done on Thursday in another Facebook post,  Rowe was contrite in a telephone interview.

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“I just got frustrated and used an improper word,’’ Rowe told WHYY. “I made a mistake. God doesn’t create perfect people and I can verify that because I ain’t one.”

He said he never intended to offend gay people or anyone else.

“If the use of this word in any manner, injured or upset or really hit hard at the emotions of an individual and hurt them, really hurt them inside, I’m heartfully sorry,’’ Rowe said.

Rowe said he would submit his resignation over the weekend but would remain active in politics.

State GOP chair Jane Brady, a former Superior Court judge and attorney general who appointed Rowe, reiterated Friday that he had to step down.

Brady said she had spoken to many people within the party who were alarmed by the statement, and some who were not, before deciding her course of action.

“One of the people that called me said that they felt that this was a word that was used when they were in boot camp all the time,’’ Brady told WHYY. “And I said, ‘Well, what was the connotation then? It’s the same as the connotation now. It’s offensive.’ ”

Brady also addressed Sussex County chair Nelly Jordan’s anti-Semitic remarks, also made on Facebook.

Brady said she can’t remove Jordan because the Sussex County body voted her into the chairperson position. But if Jordan doesn’t step down, Brady said she has been assured the body will take steps to take the position away from her.

Brady added that the remarks by the GOP chairs in two of Delaware’s three counties don’t reflect the party’s views.

“I don’t engage in that rhetoric and I don’t think people in Delaware expect their leaders to engage in that kind of rhetoric,” Brady said.

“You know, I think people will try and paint [us with] a broad brush, but this was two individuals who did two inappropriate — and I think both would acknowledge now, stupid — things. It’s not the entirety of the party.”

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