A New Jersey mayor is backpedaling on Twitter after advising a constituent to call police on the Jewish “invaders” whom the user was complaining about.
John G. Ducey, mayor of Brick Township, New Jersey, was responding to an abhorrently anti-Semitic tweet on Tuesday by user @simms10471, who asked if the city could “please do something about our parks and beaches. They are being invaded by the hasidic and orthodox jews [sic].”
In a tweet first surfaced by HuffPost freelancer Yashar Ali, Ducey responded:
“Just call police with any problems and they will send them out.”
Other users noted that his deadpan response gave inherent credence to the anti-Semitism in the original tweet (@simms10471, it seems, deleted their account in the aftermath).
Ducey argues that he purposefully ignored the bigoted remarks to defuse the situation. He said he responds to every tweet directed at him, and throughout Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, he appeared to be doing just that.
“I did not want to acknowledge the bigotry thereby giving the commenter the power he was seeking,” Ducey tweeted to one concerned user. To another he wrote, “I just tried to diffuse things and focus his anger at me. ... I’ve done pretty well for six years but this is a learning experience.”
Ducey, a Democrat, has been mayor of Brick Township since 2014. After this story was published, Ducey responded to HuffPost’s request for comment, saying that he regrets that his response led to more eyes on the original tweet.
“Unfortunately an anti-Semitic tweet was sent to me concerning our parks. It was bigotry and hateful at its finest,” he wrote. “It’s a shame that a bigoted person is getting this much of his message out but the hopes are it will inspire others to think twice and change their ways.”
Brick, meanwhile, is one of several New Jersey jurisdictions that neo-Nazi and skinhead groups call home, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The township was also highlighted by local news in 2017 after a picture of a white middle school student donning blackface at a school event went viral.
This story has been updated with comment from Ducey.