A Republican candidate for Florida state legislative office is bucking calls from his own party to drop out of the race, after he agreed with comments on social media that President Obama should be hanged for war crimes.
Both the Florida Republican Party and GOP Gov. Rick Scott have called on Joshua Black to withdraw his candidacy for a Florida House seat. On Twitter, Scott called his comments "outrageous."
But Black denied wrongdoing.
"There is no reason for me to drop out," Black told Fox News in a phone interview. "I did nothing wrong. I did not threaten the president."
The U.S. Secret Service has confirmed to Fox News that they questioned Black on Tuesday in Florida. They reached out after he posted on Twitter that he "agreed" with a statement that it was time to arrest the president and "hang him high."
Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary said that "any time we receive information, we have to make an assessment on things like veracity and/or urgency while also considering context and dangerousness," noting "people have the right to free speech."
Black did resign as a committee member of his local Pinellas County Republican Party after the controversy surrounding his comments.
"(Black) was embarrassed that he had embarrassed us and he resigned right away," said Charlotte Smith, executive director of the Pinellas County GOP.
But he's refusing to leave the House race, arguing that he was referring to Obama's drone policies.
"I'm not ashamed for saying that government officials should be held to the same standards that we are," Black wrote on Facebook, citing a 2011 U.S. drone strike that killed American-born Al Qaeda operative Anwar al-Awlaki and his teenage son in Yemen.
In a written statement, the Republican Party of Florida called his remarks "deplorable" and "despicable."
"He should probably just go ahead and bow out of the race," party Press Secretary Susan Hepworth added.