Flemington mayor won’t quit for telling Trump voters to ‘f*** yourself’
FLEMINGTON — Mayor Betsy Driver said she will not resign over a vulgar post to her private Facebook page that was critical of supporters of President Donald Trump.
Top Republicans in the state, including gubernatorial contender Jack Ciattarelli, have asked for Driver to apologize and step down.
“This is day one of the new SCOTUS term – the religious zealots want to enact the Christian version of Sharia law. If you voted for the orange monster with COVID, go F*** yourself. If you plan on voting for him again, unfriend me and go f*** yourself again," Driver's post said in part.
The post became a topic of discussion during the Borough Council meeting, which was held virtually on Tuesday with Driver presiding.
Council Vice President Kim Tilly said the mayor's comments disrespected supporters of Trump and called for the council to censure her.
“It’s time the council take action to hopefully prevent Mayor Driver from bringing the wrong kind of attention to an already struggling borough. I am requesting the council censure Mayor Driver,” Tilly said.
She was joined by Councilman Michael Harris, who asked to amend the meeting agenda to show that Driver’s comments do not reflect the community, is not condoned by the council and is “well beneath the dignity of her office.” He did not believe Driver’s explanation that the post was taken out of context.
During the public comment part of the meeting, resident Nicole Bishop asked Driver if she would resign over the post.
"I am not," Driver said. She added that voters can choose to “not vote for me next time I’m up for election. That is your recourse.”
Driver declined additional comment about the post and referred to a statement posted by TAP into Flemington/Raritan.
In the statement, Driver said the county GOP used a cropped image of what she posted and that their campaign "speaks volumes to their ongoing dishonesty and duplicity."
"That they are that triggered and clutching their pearls over my being upset and angry at the threats to my LGBTQ family by a Supreme Court enabled by their support of a president who is hate-filled and unhinged every day is sad," Driver wrote. She also said she and her family are receiving threats over the post.
The mayor said comments by Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito about overturning same-sex marriages was the reason for her comments.
Christina Meinhart, a resident in a same-sex marriage, said she supports Driver because she is concerned that if Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Bennett is confirmed her marriage could be invalidated.
"My friends and family who are LGBTQI members, we are in fear of what will happen to us because of what is happening in our government today. So what she wrote is true," Meinhart said. "I can't believe you people are acting like this. Wake up. It's 2020. We are members of your community. Treat us as equals."
Robert Shore, a resident, asked the council to ban Driver from posting on the borough's social media accounts and accused them of condoning her comments and being afraid to censure her.
"Can't you understand the damage she has done and is continuing to do to our town? How can you condone it and allow it to happen? What the hell is wrong with you people," he said.
Council President Caitlin Giles-McCormick said that social media in Flemington is "corrosive" to the town and said it was not fair to single out Driver as the person making it that way.
"I do think it's really, really important to talk about how this incident has been elevated to such an extent," Giles-McCormick said, adding that while she understood people were offended by the post it did not threaten violence or public health.