Two members of the Marion County Republican committee resigned on Monday after they flew three Confederate flags from the county GOP’s float in a local Independence Day parade on Saturday, the Des Moines Register reported.
Owen and Linda Golay, both members of the Marion County, Iowa, Republicans’ central committee, pulled the GOP’s parade float behind their truck, from which they hung three Confederate flags. Owen Golay also hung signs detailing the congressional acts that have recognized Confederate veterans. In the float behind the Golays’ truck, Republican party members held campaign signs for GOP candidates, including Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) and Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), according to the Des Moines Register.
Owen Golay said that he flew the flags to point out that Confederate veterans are still veterans.
“This was my whole point with this whole exercise: to represent a segment of American veterans that are being buried in history, three of which are buried in Marion County,” he told the Des Moines Register.
“We got a lot of cheers, thumbs up. Some people stood up and clapped,” Golay added. “We got a lot of support for that.”
The co-chair of the Marion County GOP, T. Waldmann-Williams, did not object to the flags when she first saw them in the parade on Saturday, according to the Des Moines Register.
“I decided on freedom of speech, thinking of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and all of that, that they were owners of the trailer,” she told the Des Moines Register.
But after receiving complaints over the weekend, numerous county Republican leaders criticized the Golays’ decision to fly Confederate Flags. Ed Bull, the co-chair of the Marion County Republicans, denounced the use of the Confederate flags, and Iowa Republican Chairman Jeff Kaufmann told The Gazette that he was “utterly disgusted on multiple levels.” Gov. Branstad also condemned the Golays’ decision to fly the Confederate flags during the parade.
“That’s really disloyal to all those veterans from Iowa that fought to save the union and fought against that flag, so I just think that is most inappropriate,” Branstad said, according to The Gazette. “It’s disrespectful to all those Iowans from Marion County that went down to fight to save the union, so I’m totally baffled that that would happen in this state.”
Waldmann-Williams then called the Golays on Monday, and prompted them to resign from the central committee, according to the Des Moines Register.
“I’m accountable for what happened, I’ll say that up front,” Waldmann-Williams told The Gazette. “It hurts me that I caused so much division. It was essentially my decision to not request him to take it down.”