A Maryland delegate is lashing out at Gov. Martin O’Malley for calling many Republicans “immigrant bashers” whose attitudes toward illegal immigrants are motivated by “thinly veiled racism.”
Delegate Patrick L. McDonough, Baltimore County Republican, said Tuesday that he wants an apology from the governor, who last week blasted Republicans for criticizing GOP presidential candidate and Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s 2001 signing of his state’s Dream Act — a bill that allows some illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition.
“I do admire [Mr. Perry’s] willingness to stand up to the immigrant bashers and thinly veiled racism and scapegoating that is so rampant in their party,” Mr. O’Malley said Thursday while talking with reporters at a breakfast in Washington sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor.
Mr. O’Malley, chairman of the Democratic Governors’ Association, signed into law this year Maryland’s version of the Dream Act, which would have allowed in-state tuition for some illegal immigrants.
However, opponents were able to collect enough signatures to force the issue to a 2012 statewide referendum.
Mr. McDonough — one of the bill’s most vocal opponents — called Mr. O’Malley’s comments “inflammatory and below the dignity of a sitting governor.” He also accused him of betraying President Obama’s call earlier this year for increased civility in political discourse.
Mr. McDonnell said the governor’s comments were “blatantly inaccurate,” arguing that nearly half of those who signed the petition in opposition to the Maryland Dream Act were not Republicans and that many were black.
“Demonizing decent people for political gain is shameful,” Mr. McDonough said in a statement.
O’Malley spokeswoman Raquel Guillory dismissed Mr. McDonough’s complaints and said the governor was simply praising Mr. Perry for his “courageous support” of the Dream Act.
“Delegate McDonough’s statement is just plain silly and another blatant attempt at gathering attention for himself,” she said.