Tuesday morning, Gwinnett County Commission Chairman Charlotte Nash sent a letter to Congressman John Lewis of Georgia’s 5th District, apologizing for what she called the “disrespectful comments” posted about him on Facebook by Tommy Hunter, Gwinnett County District 3 commissioner.
She read the letter at Tuesday’s commission meeting after several protesters turned up and requested that Hunter resign.
“I am writing you today to offer my sincere apologies and regrets for the disrespectful comments about you posted on social media by a Gwinnett district commissioner. I wold further welcome the chance to apologize to you face-to-face if you are willing to give me a few minutes to do so,” Nash wrote, going on to give her assurances that Hunter’s remarks do not reflect the opinions of the Board of Commissioners as a whole. “Most of us honor you as a leader in the civil rights movement and as a long-tim public servant, even those who may hold different political stances.”
The controversy is a follow up to the war of words sparked between Lewis and President-Elect Donald Trump after Lewis said in an NBC “Meet the Press” interview that he wouldn’t be attending the inauguration and that he didn’t consider Trump a “legitimate president.” This spurred a tweet by Trump that called out the civil rights icon, saying he was “all talk” and should rather concentrate on his district, which Trump went on to tweet was “in terrible shape and falling apart.” Hunter picked up on this on his Facebook page, referring to Lewis as a “racist pig.”
This has sparked outrage, including in much of Hunter’s district, culminating in calls at Tuesday’s Commission meeting for him to resign. Although he has since removed all the posts from his Facebook page that made any derogatory reference to Lewis, and read his own apology at the meeting, it does not appear that Hunter intends to resign – at least not at this time. He read the following statement at Tuesday’s Commission meeting.
“I understand emotions are high and many are upset about the post. I apologize for the choice of words I made in my comment about the Congressman John Lewis. John Lewis is a leader in the Civil Rights movement and is to be commended and illuminated. That doesn’t mean I’ll always agree with him politically. I will not allow baseless accusations of accusations of racism against me or anyone. I’ve learned a lot form this and will continue to work hard to serve all of District 3, and all the people of Gwinnett County.”
District 3 includes the unincorporated parts of Loganville. His district incorporates parts of Snellville, Loganville, Grayson, Dacula, Auburn and Braselton. Hunter was first elected in 2012 and narrowly won re-election in November 2016. Just before the controversy broke, Hunter was sworn in to serve another four years representing District 3 on the Gwinnett County BOC.