PHOENIX — The the head of the Arizona Republican Party is calling on Rep. David Stringer to resign, citing his comments on immigrants and immigration.
In a brief statement this afternoon, Jonathan Lines said he had read news reports about what Stringer said. That includes not only what showed up in a nearly 17-minute-long video of his speech earlier this week to the Republican Men's Club in Prescott but more extensive comments in an interview with Capitol Media Services.
Among the things that Stringer said:
• Immigration represents "an existential threat to the United States;”
• America's "melting pot” exists for "people of European descent;”
• Immigrants from south of the border don't assimilate because they maintain connections with their home country.
Stringer also said the fact that there are more minorities than Anglos in Arizona public schools has made integration nearly impossible because "there aren't enough white kids to go around.”
The first-term lawmaker, in his interview with Capitol Media Services, said he was simply telling his audience — made up largely, if not entirely, of Anglos — that they need to recognize there are changes that are occurring in the United States because of immigration.
"I'm telling them, 'You need to be prepared for this,'“ Stringer said.
Stringer did not immediately return calls seeking a response to Lines' call for his resignation.
The brief video of what Stringer told the Men's Club on Monday drew the usual -- and mostly predictable — responses from Democrats, immigration rights activists and political progressives.
Josselyn Berry, co director of ProgressNow Arizona, said his comments "showed the true colors of today's Republican Party,” calling it "a party of radicalism, xenophobia, and frankly racism.”
But Lines, who wants to preserve the Republican's 35-25 edge in the House of Representatives, becomes the first Republican to weigh in on the issue.
Stringer is in a three-way race for the GOP nomination for the two House seats from the district. Also running is fellow incumbent Noel Campbell of Prescott and Jodi Rooney of Prescott Valley.
Whoever survives that primary will face off against Democrats Ed Gogek and Jan Manolis, both of Prescott, in the November general election.