Dusty Rhodes says Democrats can censure him "until the cows come home," but the long-time Hamilton County auditor isn't going to apologize for his recent tweet asking why Black Lives Matter
isn't also focusing on children lost to abortions and shootings.
Instead, Rhodes is doubling down on his comments and hopes it drives a conversation about emphasizing that "all black lives matter," he told The Enquirer's That's So Cincinnati podcast his week.
A anti-abortion Catholic and conservative-leaning Democrat, Rhodes said:
"This whole Black Lives Matter thing has gotten in my craw real good. I appreciate the sentiment, but not the organization, which is a Marxist outfit hellbent on destroying our country as it stands right now. ...
"They're killing more black babies in abortions than white as a ratio. And I think those black lives matter just as much as the three little kids who were killed (by gun violence) in Chicago this weekend. And nobody's talking about that. ...
"Black lives matter in the womb as well as in life outside the womb. I think it's a valid point and it ought to be discussed."
To listen to the full podcast episode for free, click the Audioboom link at the top of the article. That's So Cincinnati can also be found for free on most podcast listening platforms, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Rhodes' interview begins at the 13:50 mark in the episode.
Rhodes enraged some members of the Hamilton County Democratic Party on June 19, when he tweeted: "Just wondering when they are going to paint 'Black Lives Matter' on Auburn Avenue, you know, in front of that building where they terminate black lives and white ones, too, almost every day of the week."
Planned Parenthood, the city's only abortion clinic, is located on Auburn Avenue in Mount Auburn.
Democratic Party Chairwoman Gwen McFarlin issued a statement
three days later calling Rhodes' tweet "racist" and sexist," adding that she would begin the process of censuring the 30-year county auditor.
Rhodes said McFarlin contacted him before she released the statement. He called McFarlin a "good person" whom he's known for 30 years, but she caved to the party's progressives.
"I like Gwen personally, but she couldn't stand up to them and she buckled," Rhodes said.
Former local party chairman "Tim Burke would have never allowed this to happen," Rhodes said. "Tim Burke believed in a big tent and brought us all together. His only thing was do your job well and don't reflect badly on the party. That's what I've done consistently. I've never brought scandal to the party, and they can't say that about some of their favorites in City Hall."
Rhodes said he'll continue to criticize Black Lives Matter for pushing a narrowly focused political agenda and ignoring taking up the cause of the importance of all Black lives.
"I'm going to say what I think, because I'm not going to let the party do my thinking for me," Rhodes said. "It's a horrible thing (George Floyd's death). But to use that as an excuse to destroy buildings and blocks and take over cities and everything else, I think that's a bridge too far. But everybody (politicians and media) is scared to say it. I can't believe it. They're hiding under their desks. It's time to step up."
Rhodes was first elected auditor in 1990, and he's always consistently held pro-life views. He's also been outspoken about those beliefs, often tweeting about it. Rhodes was asked if he thought the party issued the public rebuke now to put pressure on him to retire.
"I'm not going to hide my opinion under a bushel basket," Rhodes said. "I've been pro-life from the start. They knew I was pro-life when I first ran for Delhi trustee. I was pro-life when they asked me to run for auditor. I was pro-life when they endorsed me two years ago. To expect that I'm going to keep quiet about that (is) ridiculous."
He added: "The Democratic Party is not going to save my soul. My church comes before my party and that's the way I am."
Rhodes, 80, reiterated that he'd already been thinking about retiring after his term expires in 2022. If he does decide to run again, however, Rhodes didn't definitively say whether he'd remain loyal to the Democrats or switch parties.
"I'd rather fight than switch," Rhodes said.