TYLER, Texas — A comment from a Smith County Democratic leader is prompting calls for her resignation, some calling the statement racist.
According to an Axios article, during a Zoom meeting with the Texas Democratic county chairs, Dr. Nancy Nichols, State Democratic Executive Committee member, said "We had the (T)rumpers at our Beto event today in Tyler. We had all kinds of quiet security, but basically the event was held on the chocolate side of town and the (T)rumpers drove around, but kept a distance. I believe they were afraid to get out. Good."
In the comments, she was referencing when gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke made a campaign stop in Tyler earlier this month at the Glass Recreation Center.
She later issued an apology saying that she never should’ve used those words.
“I am truly sorry for what I have done and should not have done that, and I ask for your forgiveness. As it should have, this has caused me a great deal of pain and sorrow as it has caused many of you a great deal of pain and sorrow as well. And for that I am truly sorry,” Nichols said. “While I don’t understand many things 100%, I am learning more and more each day and pledge to learn from this mistake and never make it again.”
She also emphasized her apology, specifically to the African American community and those working for unity.
“I pray with God’s help that I never make such a mistake again” she said.
Nichols explained her “chocolate” comment by saying she watched the MasterClass series Black History, Black Freedom, and Black Love with Dr. Cornell West. She said that West used the terms “vanilla” and “chocolate.”
“I felt from his lectures that these terms were kind and carried a sense of love. I understand now that I was wrong in my usage and I have learned from my mistake,” Nichols said.
Cat Parks, vice chair of the Texas Republican Party, tweeted that Nichols should, “resign immediately. Racism has no place in Texas.”
Smith County Republican Party Chairman David Stein said the local Republican Party was proud to be a sponsor for the Texas African American Museum’s inaugural gala this past Saturday where Khalilah Camacho Ali, former wife of boxing legend Muhammed Ali spoke on “A Time of Reckoning-Healing the Past”.
“Ms. Nichols' comment was nowhere close to Dr. Ali’s presentation. No one is without flaw, and in Dr. Martin Luther King's words, ‘There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.’ However, I do not believe her response takes full responsibility for her comments,” Stein said in a statement.
Stein said that Nichols has been involved in the community too long to casually say she is learning “many more things.”
“While I take her at her word, I cannot grasp she wouldn’t have recognized prior to this, a comment like that is 100% inappropriate. For those in the public eye, we must recognize the words we speak affect those around us,” Stein said. “We’ve made progress in Smith County and those whose voices carry influence are held to a high standard, which I believe was not met in this case.”
Stein added that the Democratic Party will ultimately have to make the decision on how to handle this issue.