POLITICS

Arizona Official Pressured To Resign After Calling Welfare Recipients 'Lazy Pigs'

06/24/2014 05:42 pm ET | Updated Jun 24, 2014
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Arizona state schools Superintendent John Huppenthal (R) is facing mounting pressure to resign from his post after he admitted to authoring numerous incendiary posts across several political blogs starting in late 2010.

Last week, Huppenthal acknowledged that in 2010 he anonymously posted online commentary calling welfare recipients "lazy pigs" and accusing Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger of having "fed 16 million African-Americans into abortion mills."

Although Huppenthal apologized for using "certain inflammatory words" in a statement to The Arizona Republic on Wednesday, he maintained that he participated in the blogs anonymously because he didn't want his position as an elected official to obstruct a free and open exchange of ideas.

"I love talking about public policy, and I have a passion for engaging in debate," Huppenthal explained to The Republic in an exclusive interview Wednesday. "I probably have 300,000 words out on the Internet, and 100 of them are getting me in trouble. When all of your missteps are there all together for people to see, it's not a pretty picture."

On Monday, Arizona television station KTVK revealed additional posts by Arizona's top education leader in which he called for the end of Spanish-language media in the U.S. Huppenthal's staff confirmed to KTVK on Monday that the comments were written by the superintendent.

"We all need to stomp out balkanization. No spanish radio stations, no spanish billboards, no spanish tv stations, no spanish newspapers," Huppenthal, under the pseudonym Falcon9, wrote on the conservative blog Espresso Pundit a month after he was elected in 2010. "This is America, speak English."

Huppenthal followed up on his post an hour later, responding to a commenter who jokingly proposed closing all ethnic restaurants.

"I don't mind them selling Mexican food as long as the menus are mostly in English," wrote Huppenthal, who is up for reelection this year. "And, I'm not being humorous or racist. A lot is at stake here."

After Huppenthal's admission Wednesday, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry responded by canceling plans to honor Huppenthal at its annual awards lunch Friday.

"The comments should not have been made and posted under any circumstance," said Glenn Hamer, the group's CEO and president. "We regret that this decision was necessary."

Lisa Graham Keegan (R), a former state superintendent of public instruction, also personally asked Huppenthal to resign over the weekend, according to KTVK.

"I'm sick about it, everybody I know is sick about it," Keegan said on Tuesday. "You can't hold the position of superintendent of schools and be saying things that sound disdainful of the people that you serve, you can't do that."

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