An Ohio county chair for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump resigned and apologized Thursday after remarks she made in an interview about President Barack Obama.
Kathy Miller, who was coordinating Trump’s campaign in the crucial Mahoning County, told The Guardian on Wednesday there was no racism in the U.S. until Obama became president. Miller made the remarks in part of a video series called “Anywhere but Washington.”
“I don’t think there was any racism until Obama got elected. We never had problems like this ... Now, with the people with the guns, and shooting up neighborhoods, and not being responsible citizens, that’s a big change, and I think that’s the philosophy that Obama has perpetuated on America,” she said.
Miller also insisted there was “no racism” during the 1960s and said black people who have not been successful only have themselves to blame.
“If you’re black and you haven’t been successful in the last 50 years, it’s your own fault. You’ve had every opportunity, it was given to you,” she told The Guardian. “You’ve had the same schools everybody else went to. You had benefits to go to college that white kids didn’t have. You had all the advantages and didn’t take advantage of it. It’s not our fault, certainly.”
Miller, who was also an official Ohio elector to the Electoral College for the Trump campaign, apologized in a statement and also resigned from her elector position.
“My personal comments were inappropriate, and I apologize. I am not a spokesperson for the campaign and was not speaking on its behalf,” she said. “I have resigned as the volunteer campaign chair in Mahoning County and as an elector to the electoral college to avoid any unnecessary distractions.”
The Mahoning chair for the Republican Party, Mark Munroe, said he contacted the Trump campaign immediately asking for Miller to be “dismissed” over her “insane comments.” The Trump campaign accepted her resignation Thursday.
“We should not let those really inappropriate comments affect the Trump campaign,” Munroe added.
Trump has spent the last couple of weeks asking black Americans for their support and asserting that Obama had failed the black community. Trump has been painted at times as sending mixed messages to the African-American community.
"The rioting in our streets is a threat to all peaceful citizens and it must be ended and ended now," Trump said at a rally Thursday night in Philadelphia. "The main victims of these violent demonstrations are law-abiding African-Americans who live in these communities and only want to raise their children in safety and peace."
Mahoning County is usually held by Democrats when it comes to the elections, but Trump’s pitch to boost manufacturing and the economy as a whole as swung some Democrats to switch parties.
The Guardian reports some 6,000 Democrats have switched parties, supposedly to vote for Trump in November.
The latest Fox News Poll showed that Trump was holding a five-point lead over Clinton among likely voters.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.