A local Arkansas GOP official who recently said that Hillary Clinton would “probably get shot at the state line,” if she runs for president in 2016 resigned from his post today after facing criticism for his remark.
The official, Johnny Rhoda, who chaired the state Republican Party organization in Arkansas’ 2nd Congressional District, stepped down today, the chairman of the Arkansas Republican Party told ABC affiliate KATV.
Clinton, who is on tour promoting her new book, “Hard Choices,” is scheduled to make a stop at a Little Rock Wal-Mart on Friday.
It all started when U.S. News reporter David Catanese asked Rhoda about Clinton’s prospects in Arkansas as a potential 2016 presidential candidate.
“She’d probably get shot at the state line,” Rhoda said, according to the U.S. News interview, adding: “Nobody has any affection for her.”
On Tuesday, Rhoda told Business Insider that he was quoted “out of context” and that his remark was “not meant in a threatening or hostile way at all.”
By today, however, Rhoda called it quits. Arkansas Republican Party Chairman Doyle Webb sent the following statement to Arkansas TV station KARK:
“Moments ago I received the resignation of Johnny Rhoda as 2nd District Republican Chairman. He was apologetic for the statements he made to media yesterday and although he feels he was taken out of context, he knows that his statements have created an unnecessary distraction from the important issues before the State today. Johnny has been active in this Party for decades and all members of the Republican Party sincerely thank him for his service. I have accepted his resignation which is effective immediately.”
The comment by Rhoda, a pastor and an insurance agent, drew condemnations from Arkansas Democratic Party chairman Vince Insalaco, among others.
Rep. Tim Griffin, who currently represents the 2nd District in Congress and is running for lieutenant governor, sought to distance himself from Rhoda’s remark.
“Mr. Rhoda is not and never has been associated with our campaign for lieutenant governor, and his statement is obviously inappropriate, offensive and shows poor judgment,” Griffin said in a statement. “Mr. Rhoda’s decision to resign from his position with the Arkansas Republican Party is the right one for him, the Party and Arkansas.”
Clinton was the first lady of Arkansas while her husband Bill was governor from 1979 to 1981 and from 1983 to 1992.