The Democratic National Committee has ousted a candidate running for party chair over comments he made regarding Rep. Keith Ellison’s Muslim faith.
Vincent Tolliver, who participated in a DNC forum over the weekend in Houston, was removed from the contest after The Hill newspaper reported that the former House candidate in Arkansas had said that Mr. Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat and the first Muslim elected to Congress, should be disqualified from running because “Muslims discriminate against gays.”
Donna Brazile, the interim chair of the DNC, said Mr. Tolliver has been tossed because he violated a pledge, signed by each of the candidates, to “uphold the interests, welfare and success of the Democratic Party of the United States, and will participate in the DNC Future Forum in good faith.”
“The Democratic Party welcomes all Americans from all backgrounds. What we do not welcome is people discriminating against others based on who they are or how they worship. We expect candidates for Chair of the Party to conduct a respectful campaign based on issues,” Ms. Brazile said. “Mr. Tolliver’s disgusting comments attacking the religion of a fellow candidate fall far short of that standard. Accordingly, Mr. Tolliver is no longer a candidate for DNC Chair.”
In comments emailed to The Hill, Mr. Tolliver said that Mr. Ellison’s “being a Muslim is precisely why DNC voters should not vote for him.”
“Muslims discriminate against gays. Islamic law is clear on the subject, and being gay is a direct violation of it. In some Muslim countries, being gay is a crime punishable by death,” he wrote.
Mr. Tolliver later released a statement apologizing for his comments.
He said he regrets suggesting that Mr. Ellison “accepts the discriminatory tenets of Islamic law.”
“Mr. Ellison is a decent man and I certainly don’t believe he himself discriminates against the LGBTQ community,” Mr. Tolliver said. “In addition, I apologize to others in the Muslim community who I may have offended. To be clear, I abhor discrimination in all forms. “
He also criticized the DNC out for ousting him from the race, accusing the party of trampling over his Constitutional rights.
“I disagree with the DNC’s decision to terminate my candidacy without due process,” Mr. Tolliver said in a statement. “The DNC’s efforts to censor my 1st Amendment right to free speech is unprecedented and a violation of the Constitution.”
Mr. Tolliver said that DNC members have refused to give him a fair shake.