Republicans Join Condemnation of Punching a Biden Effigy

Kansas party blames outside exhibitor at fundraiser, but no one has apologized
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 11, 2024 7:40 PM CDT
Republicans Join Condemnation of Punching a Biden Effigy
President Biden greets supporters Friday at a middle school Wallingford, Pennsylvania.   (AP Photo/Joe Lamberti)

Republicans have joined Democrats in denouncing the GOP officials responsible for a party fundraiser Friday night in Kansas at which people were invited to beat and kick an effigy of President Biden. "I don't agree with President Biden's policies, but he is a fellow human being," Mike Kuckelman, a former state party chairman, posted online, the Kansas Reflector reports. "No one should condone or defend this horrific and shameful conduct." He called for the resignations of the state and Johnson County Republican chairs.

Maria Holiday, head of the GOP in Johnson County, a suburban area near Kansas City, said the weekend events were "tarnished by a brief incident where a mask depicting President Biden was added to an outside exhibitor interactive self defense display. The mask was regrettable and removed." She said no one paid to be able to hit the effigy, per the Kansas City Star. Jan Kessinger, a former Kansas legislator active in GOP politics, blamed the influence of Donald Trump for the changes among state Republicans. "Teddy Roosevelt talked about a bully pulpit, but they forget the pulpit part and they have just become bullies," Kessinger said.

No statewide party officials attended the event, the Kansas Republican Party said in a statement, per the Washington Post. But Kuckelman pointed out that no GOP officials have issued an apology. "I think they're standing firm that it was OK for them to do this, and it's really disturbing," he said. Kansas Senate Democratic Leader Dinah Sykes, who's from Johnson County, urged elected Republicans to condemn the "disgusting" effigy setup, saying, "This is invoking violence." At the "Grand Ol' Party" fundraiser, held at the Overland Park Convention Center, attendees paid $100 to $300 to hear Ted Nugent's keynote speech. (More Republicans stories.)

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