A spokesman for late Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich (R) told local news outlets Tuesday that the state’s Republican Party leader, whom Schweich had accused of orchestrating an anti-Semitic “whisper campaign” against him, should resign his post.
Spokesman Spence Jackson made his comments following the funeral service for Schweich, who was a leading Republican candidate for Missouri governor.
Jackson appeared to be the first person to publicly call for the resignation of John Hancock, the newly-elected state GOP chairman. Schweich had planned to publicly accuse Hancock of telling people that he was Jewish the same day he committed suicide.
Auditor Schweich’s press secretary Spence Jackson tells press John Hancock needs to step down as party chair. @kmoxnews
— Jessica Machetta (@jmachetta) March 3, 2015
At the funeral service on Tuesday, former U.S. Sen. John Danforth (R-MO) lambasted Hancock, without mentioning him by name, in a eulogy for Schweich.
“Words do hurt. Words can kill,” Danforth said. “That has been proven right here in our home state.”
In an interview with local politics blog PoliticMO, Jackson invoked that eulogy and challenged Schweich’s gubernatorial primary opponent, Catherine Hanaway, to demand that Hancock step down as well.
“There is no way that the Missouri GOP can move forward under his leadership for the reasons that Sen. Danforth made out this morning,” Jackson said. “He needs to resign and Catherine Hanaway needs to call on him to resign. It is unconscionable to think that the Missouri GOP can be successful in 2016 as John Hancock as the chairman.”
Danforth also dismissed Hancock’s denial of the allegations in his eulogy, arguing that “the only reason for going around saying that someone is Jewish is to make political profit from religious bigotry.” Jackson echoed that sentiment in comments to local news website Missourinet.
“I believe with all my heart that John knew what he was doing,” Jackson told the news website. “He knew the reaction he was seeking from people. He knew what he was trying to get out of people.”