An Arkansas Republican official, who faced fierce criticism after saying Hillary Clinton would “probably get shot at the state line” if she ran for president in her adopted home state, has resigned.
Arkansas Republican Party Chairman Doyle Webb said in a statement Wednesday evening that Johnny Rhoda – the state party’s 2nd District chairman – had decided to step aside.
Rhoda, according to Webb, was apologetic but felt his remarks were taken out of context. Nonetheless, Rhoda “knows that his statements have created an unnecessary distraction from the important issues before the state today,” said Webb. The resignation is effective immediately.
Rhoda, an insurance agent, made the initial remarks to U.S. News on Tuesday when he was asked about the level of backing Clinton would receive in Arkansas should she make a second bid for the Oval Office. After making the comment about her potentially getting shot, he added, “Nobody has any affection for her. The majority don’t.”
The former secretary of state and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, moved to Arkansas in the 1970s. Bill Clinton was the state’s attorney general and governor before becoming president of the United States.
Democrats in Arkansas immediately seized on what they called Rhoda’s “violent rhetoric” and criticized French Hill, a Republican candidate for the 2nd Congressional District, for remaining silent.
The former first lady is currently on a book tour for her memoir, “Hard Choices,” which hit bookshelves earlier this month. The cross-country tour is being seen as part of a months-long rollout leading up to her decision on a presidential run. Hillary Clinton – the early front-runner among potential 2016 presidential contenders-- has said she will decide by the end of the year.
It has been a rocky foray back into the public sphere for Hillary Clinton, especially regarding comments about her family’s wealth. She even characterized her remarks as “inartful.” Republicans have pounced on her comments about her finances to cast Hillary Clinton as unable to relate to ordinary Americans. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich took a jab at her political skills this week, too, likening Hillary Clinton to reality star Kim Kardashian.