Trenton councilwoman apologizes for pedophile comment but won’t resign
Trenton Councilwoman Robin Vaughn issued an apology Wednesday on her Facebook page for calling Mayor Reed Gusciora, who is gay, a pedophile during a conference call.
Saturday's telephone briefing on the COVID-19 pandemic for the City Council turned into a vulgar name-calling shouting match involving Gusciora, who called Vaughn "radioactive" and an "idiot."
An excerpt of the call is below. The meeting can be heard in full here. (Warning: includes profanity and slurs).
“I apologize. That must be the first thing that you hear from me. I am deeply and specifically sorry for the language that has offended so many,” Vaughn wrote. "It was also not my intent to attack anyone on the basis of any classification or personal preferences but should have been more sensitive to the potential implication of my words and how they might be perceived."
She said she let her emotions get the best of her. "It was wrong and I own that," Vaughn wrote.
A long list of Democrats, including Gov. Phil Murphy and New Jersey's two U.S. senators, called for her resignation.
But she told a NJ.com reporter via a text message that she will not step down.
About three hours after posting her apology, she posted another message that read "Robin Vaughn, West Ward Councilwoman. 100% self-funded elected official." It also also included a quote from the late Shirley Chisholm: "Elected by the people. People over party. Unbought and unbossed."
"Unbought and unbossed" was Chisolm's campaign slogan in 1968 when she became the first black woman elected to Congress. She ran in New York City's 12th congressional district. Chisolm died in 2005.
A rally scheduled for Thursday at Trenton City Hall in support of Vaughn by Trenton-based newspaper Nubian News was has been canceled “in the interest of community health," according to a post on their Facebook page. The newspaper earlier said social distancing protocol would be followed.
The City Council met via a conference call on Tuesday evening when a motion to censure Vaughn failed by a 5-2 vote. The council meets again on Thursday.
Gusciora did not return a message from New Jersey 101.5 asking for his reaction to Vaughn's message.
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