No censure for councilwoman who called gay mayor a ‘pedophile’
TRENTON — The city's council has voted against a censure of Councilwoman Robin Vaughn, under fire for calling openly gay Mayor Reed Guiciora a pedophile during a briefing that turned into a profanity-filled session on Saturday.
The briefing among the council and mayor degenerated into shouting and name calling, with Gusciora calling Vaughn "radioactive," "a 4-year-old" and "an idiot" during a discussion about non-profits and how much they give back to the city. Vaughn returned fire by calling the mayor a "motherf**king drug-addict pedophile," saying he kept young boys in his office, and accusing him of running drugs out of his office.
Gov. Phil Murphy, Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, Sen. Robert Menendez and Sen. Cory Booker and two LGBTQ advocacy groups have called for Vaughn to step down over her comments. During his daily COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday Murphy called Vaughn's comments "completely unacceptable, reprehensible." The mayor, Vaughn and each of those officials are Democrats.
An excerpt of the call is below. The meeting can be heard in full here (warning: includes profanity and slurs).
A conference session Tuesday night was the first time the city council met since the incident. The censure vote had not been included on the agenda posted to the city website.
Before taking the vote, council members debated whether Vaughn needed to be served a disciplinary Rice notice beforehand, according to the Trentonian's coverage of the meeting. The New Jersey State Supreme Court ruled that a public body does not need to provide advance warning of a disciplinary action in its 2018 reversal of an Appellate Division ruling, according to the NJ School Law Blog.
Councilman Jerrell Blakeley later on his Facebook page called the discussion of the Rice notice an excuse not to go on the record with a vote.
"My colleagues had an opportunity to formally condemn Robin’s homophobic and crude comments and they did everything possible to avoid the vote, and then when compelled with the facts, they hid behind a phony and non-existent executive session and voted no," Blakeley wrote.
He accused his fellow council members of giving tacit approval of homophobia with their vote against a censure. Only he and Joseph Harrison voted in favor of censuring Vaughn.
"It’s disgraceful and a sign that this council is not welcoming of our city‘s diversity and are completely fine with the use of divisive and toxic language that demeans. They are upset about being called idiots (of which there is ample evidence) but totally fine with the Mayor being defamed as a pedophile by a member of the city’s legislative body," Blakeley wrote.
Vaughn also declined to address Saturday’s incident when she had the opportunity after the vote, according to the Trentonian's report. She has not commented about the tirade on her Facebook page and has not returned messages from New Jersey 101.5.
A Trenton-based newspaper called Nubian News is holding a protest at Trenton City Hall on Thursday it calls "Trenton Men Rally In Support of Robin Vaughn"
"No woman should be attacked. The mayor of Trenton cannot be allowed to call Robin Vaughn names and attack her being and then get upset when she returns in kind," the outlet wrote on its Facebook page event announcement, adding it will follow social distancing protocol and wear face coverings.
Gusciora did not return a message from New Jersey 101.5 about the vote or the protest on Tuesday morning.
More from New Jersey 101.5: