MONTGOMERY (AP) — A coalition of social justice groups criticized Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill’s social media posts Tuesday, including a since-deleted retweet that mentioned a “war on whites.”
The groups and individuals held a news conference at the Alabama Capitol, saying they were following up on a letter sent last week to the elected Republican expressing disapproval of the posts. Some speakers called on Merrill to resign. Others said said the posts were irresponsible from a statewide officer holder.
Project Say Something Founder Camille Bennett said “dog whistle politics" were the tool of past segregationist Gov. George Wallace and that Merrill needs to understand that could incite violence.
“Here we are in 2020 and we still have white men at the state Capitol dog whistling, talking about a war on whites. What war do you speak of?" Bennett said.
Merrill had recently retweeted one item that criticized Black Lives Matter and another saying “when patriots decide it’s time to fight back it’s gonna be ugly.”
He told The Associated Press that he retweeted video of an altercation but didn't notice all its content, adding “I didn't think anything about it."
He later deleted the retweets after a conversation with a friend.
However, he did not express remorse over the retweets. He said the groups criticizing him were pushing a “liberal narrative.”
Merrill said he uses his personal Twitter account to promote his own views and will continue to do so.
Merrill is a prolific user of social media and sometimes gets into back-and-forth with commenters.
More than 20 groups and individuals signed the letter to Merrill last week complaining of his posts.
“Many of our protestors have been violently threatened by the very base your recent retweets invigorate and embolden. As an elected official, we expect you to know better, to do better, and to simply be better,” the letter read.