GOP Leaders Ask Billings Lawmaker to Resign Over ‘Deeply Disturbing’ Remarks

Republican leadership condemns comments about shooting and jailing socialists

By Tristan Scott

Republican legislative leaders on Monday asked Rep. Rodney Garcia, R-Billings, to resign over remarks about how a constitutional directive allows socialists to be shot or jailed in the United States.

Garcia made the remarks during a GOP meeting in Helena on Jan. 31, when he described his concerns about the proliferation of socialists “entering our government” before adding that the U.S. Constitution provides they either be shot or jailed.

The Montana Republican Party on Feb. 1 condemned the comment, but Garcia stood by his remarks when pressed by a reporter about them.

“They’re enemies of the free state,” Garcia reportedly said. “What do we do with our enemies in war? In Vietnam, (Afghanistan), all those. What did we do?”

After Garcia failed to disavow the “deeply disturbing comments” at the behest of Republican lawmakers, party leadership asked him to tender his resignation in a sharply worded letter signed by Speaker of the House Rep. Greg Hertz, R-Polson; Speaker Pro Tempore Rep E. Wylie Galt, R-Martinsdale; and House Majority Leader Rep. Brad Tschida.

“Your reckless and un-American remarks are beneath that of a public official and do not represent the values of the Republican Party, Montana House of Representatives, or the people of our great state,” according to the letter. “Your actions have irreparably undermined the body in which you serve and irrevocably broken the trust of those you were elected to represent. We believe it is clear that you can no longer effectively discharge the duties of the office you hold; therefore, it is our request that you submit your resignation with immediate effect.”

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