With accusations of racism and terrorism, members of the NAACP and state Democratic Party on Friday called for the Horry County treasurer and school board chairman to step down.
The three speakers’ wrath didn’t stop with the two local officials but included U.S. Sens. Tim Scott and Lindsey Graham, U.S. Rep. Tom Rice and Horry County Councilman Orton Bellamy. All five leaders are Republicans.
Cedric Blain-Spain, a member of the state Democratic Party's executive committee, said Horry County Treasurer Angie Jones should resign because she supports Donald Trump and attended the "Stop the Steal" rally in Washington D.C. on Jan. 6. Blain-Spain also said Horry County Board of Education Chairman Ken Richardson should resign because he has publicly supported Jones on social media.
“We are obligated to tell them that you attended the 'Stop the Steal' rally at the request of your evil, racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, religious bigot, demigod [and you] should resign. And all of you, whatever levels, should be removed from office,” Blain-Spain said as he stood with two members of the Georgetown County NAACP in Conway on Friday. “You are free to choose, but you are not free from the consequences of your choice. You may not want to resign. You may affirm you are not resigning. But let me assure you when the hell hounds eat your soul daily, weekly and monthly for taking sides with a demigod signing up for hell’s suites, you will wish you had resigned or was removed from office.”
The “Stop the Steal” rally was held in Washington on the day the U.S. Senate was voting to affirm the Electoral College votes for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as president and vice president. Before the vote could be taken, men and women with banners supporting Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol. Five people have died and numerous people are being charged with various federal crimes in association with the insurrection.
Jones has repeatedly said she is not resigning. She said she did attend the rally but left the area before the Capitol was stormed. She has also repeated she condemns the violence.
Ken Richardson, chairman of the school board, was targeted by Blain-Spain for a social media post he made in support of Jones.
“Keep up the good work Treasurer!!! Our school district counts on you and I thank for an awesome job,” the post, which appeared after the Capitol attack, stated. “What you do on your own time off is your business. Even I hated you last week when I paid my taxes, but the other 364 days I am proud to call you my friend.”
On Friday, Richardson said he will not resign.
“I’m an elected Republican official for Horry County,” he said. “Why wouldn’t the Democrats come after me? They can’t beat me at the ballot box, so what other way to come after me? If you don’t like me, then run against me and beat me. But if you can’t run again me and beat me, don’t put out things that are not true about me.
“I have absolutely no plans to step down. I never leave a job unfinished.”
Blain-Spain argued the chairman made his position clear with the social media post.
“How can you represent all the children of all races, colors and creeds as a school board chairman but say you support domestic terrorism? That’s ultimately what he’s saying,” Blain-Spain said.
Being the central target of the news conference, Jones’ timeline and character were questioned by Georgetown County NAACP officials De’Ontay A. Winchester Sr. and Marvin Neal.
Jones said she listened to speakers at the rally but returned to her hotel room around noon before the crowd stormed the Capitol. She has presented receipts to back up her statements.
“Anyone with common sense would know that doesn’t sound right,” Winchester said. “Who’s going from South Carolina all the way to Washington D.C. not to hear the remarks and not to be a part of the rally they went to D.C. to be a part of?”
Winchester went on to say once Jones became an elected official, “your business became the people’s business,” adding that her actions reflect on the office and county all the time.
He and Neal asserted that the rally’s intention was to disenfranchise the Black vote.
“You will soon learn that we will unseat you by that same power of the Black vote,” Winchester said. “Hear me now, Ms. Angie Jones, your time is limited. We will rally and you will be removed.”
Neal was blunt with his assessment of Jones.
“No, you didn’t stay in your hotel room,” Neal said. “I’m going to tell you what you did Angie Jones. You forgot to put the hood back on. That’s what happened. That same hood that brought shame to America after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.”
Neal went on to call for her censure and called county councilman Bellamy a “jelly back” for not demanding that Jones resign.
“To county council, the Black one, like Donald Trump would say. ‘The Black one right over there. My Black one,’” Neal said, looking into a phone set up for a live Facebook feed of the Friday news conference. “I respect your leadership, but where is it now? You should be leading the fight, not sitting back quietly behind the desk saying, ‘Yes, massa,’ or ‘No, massa.’ ‘I’ll speak when you let me speak.’You should be saying it’s time for censure.”
Bellamy is the only Black member of county council.
After the news conference, Jones said she would not be pressured into resigning. She accused the NAACP of trying to bully her and maintained the organization would not be successful.
“It is stupid,” she said. “I’m not resigning for exercising my First Amendment right. … Why would I do that? I’ve got protection under the Constitution just like they do.”
Horry County Council Chairman Johnny Gardner said the council has no intention of censuring Jones for attending the Trump event.
“There are absolutely no plans to do that,” he said. “She’s an independently elected official. She’s not on council. … Normally, censure is when you are punishing or reprimanding a member of your body. It would be inappropriate for us to censure any elected official whether we agree or disagree with them.”
Bellamy agreed that the council shouldn’t object to Jones' trip to Washington.
“Even though she is an elected official, mostly importantly, under the Constitution, she is an individual,” he said. “She has a right to protest in Washington D.C. … There’s no evidence that Angie Jones bypassed the barriers, breached the doors and entered into the Capitol. … The individuals, the terrorists, the knuckleheads, the boneheads who would penetrate that, they should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
Bellamy said he explained his position to Blain-Spain during a recent phone call but had not spoken with anyone from the Georgetown NAACP.
Bellamy did not want to respond to the comments that were made about him at the news conference because he was not there to hear them. Bellamy was participating in a council budget retreat for much of Friday.
The councilman said he would rather talk with those individuals directly about their concerns.
“I want to make sure I don’t take anything out of context,” he said.
As for Richardson’s social media post, he took it down several days ago and defended his position.
“When I walk in a classroom, I see children; I don’t see colors. When I’m talking to people, no matter where I’m at, I see people; I don’t see colors. If more people felt like that, this world would be a better place,” Richardson said. “I don’t consider myself to be a racist or a terrorist. It’s absolutely ridiculous."
As for why he removed the social media post?
“I took it down because Angie said she didn’t like the picture,” he said. “Angie said something about ‘I used a bad picture of her.’ I can tell you this. She’s good treasurer. She works well with the school district.”
Neal and Blain-Spain didn’t leave their comments for the local officials. Neal said Sens. Graham and Scott should be “ashamed” for supporting Trump.
Blain-Spain targeted Rice for his support of Trump while acknowledging the Congressman’s latest vote to impeach the president.
“We saw the equalizer,” he said. “We saw the denominator when death was staring Tom Rice in the face and he couldn’t come back home to his beloved Grand Strand and enjoy the celestial shores of the plantation called Myrtle Beach.”
Neal said the root issue is racism.
“Tell Angie Jones to show up with her AR-15 and she should show up with her hood or without her hood on. Either way, a klansman is a klansman. Tell her to show up right now,” he said, referring to a social media post of Jones holding an assault rifle as she stands with one woman and two men at the Horry County Courthouse. Neal said he was urging Jones to “show up” with the weapon at the Capitol now with thousands of National Guard members.
“The problem with white America, it’s not Joe Biden,” he said. “It’s that Black female that got elected with him, Kamala Harris.”
Charles Perry and Christian Boschult contributed to the story.