A Michigan Republican official and conservative radio host has apologized after facing bipartisan criticism for invoking the Kent State massacre to criticize anti-right wing protests on 2 February 2017:
Dan Adamini told the Detroit Free Press that he was sorry for contributing to the "spawning of hatred" through two online posts that have since been deleted (along with his Twitter and Facebook accounts).
Adamini, the secretary for the Marquette County GOP, reacted to the protests surrounding Breitbart.com editor Milo Yiannopoulos's planned 1 February 2017 appearance at the University of California campus in Berkeley by tweeting the following:
Violent protesters who shut down free speech? Time for another Kent State perhaps. One bullet stops a lot of thuggery.
He doubled down on the sentiment on his Facebook page, posting:
The violent protests at our universities certainly indicate Portage acacian at the lower level. I'm thinking that another Kent State might be the only solution...They do it because they know there are no consequences yet.
Though Adamini's posts were deleted, the state Democratic Party published pictures of them, which can be seen below:
State party chair Brandon Dillon also called upon Adamini to not only apologize, but also to resign from his position within the GOP:
The statements made on social media by Dan Adamini are sickening, inhuman, and indefensible. There is no ambiguity or alternative interpretation. To call for “another Kent State” and declare that “one bullet stops a lot of thuggery” is to clearly and openly advocate for the murder of unarmed college students, simply because they don’t share his beliefs or point of view.
A spokesperson for the state Republican Party, Sarah Anderson, told the Free Press that Adamini's remarks were insensitive, adding: "Dan spoke for himself, not on behalf of the party." We contacted the state Republican Party seeking comment on whether they would call for Adamini to resign from his position but have yet to hear back.
For his part, Adamini has said that the posts were "stupid" and led to death threats and harassment. He also told the Free Press that he wanted to stop violence he attributed to protesters:
The point I was trying to make, admittedly I did it very poorly ... was that the violence is really getting out of hand, and much like in the 1960s, the violence created an atmosphere where something terrible and tragic like Kent State could happen. I'd like to see the violence stop before we have a tragedy.
The shootings at the Ohio-based university on 4 May 1970 resulted in the deaths of four students along with injuries to nine others. Kent State also released a statement criticizing Adamini:
This abhorrent post is in poor taste and trivializes a loss of life that still pains the Kent State community today.
We invite the person who wrote this statement to tour our campus and our May 4 Visitors Center, which opened four years ago, to gain perspective on what happened 47 years ago and apply its meaning to the future.
Berkeley officials estimated that the demonstration against Yiannopoulos caused $100,000 in damages in addition to forcing the cancellation of his planned speech. President Donald Trump reacted to the controversy by suggesting that the school should lose federal funding over the incident. Yiannopoulos has since stated that he intends to return to the campus.
Adamini attributed the demonstrations against Yiannopoulos's Berkeley appearance to "paid agitators who continue to plague this country," though he has not provided evidence supporting that claim.
We have reached out to Adamini seeking additional comment.