The head of the Oklahoma Republican Party on Tuesday called on Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel to resign after she expressed the party’s commitment to the LGBTQ+ community at a gala earlier this month.
In a 1,100-word fundraising email headed “RNC Chair MUST Change Course or RESIGN,” OKGOP chair John Bennett said McDaniel “must resign” if “she cannot or will not stand for who we say we are.”
“The OKGOP will not cooperate with this decision and, as your Chairman, I assure the Oklahoma Republican Party that I will continue to stand up for our Republican Party Values and our principles,” Bennett wrote in the email. He added that religious freedom is “flat-out incompatible with the pillars of the LGBT movement.”
“Let’s clear the way of those who are either too incompetent or too selfish to actually defend liberty and our Judeo-Christian founding,” Bennett wrote, then asked for donations to his organization.
McDaniel crossed conservative Christians when she announced the creation of an “RNC Pride Coalition” at the annual Spirit of Lincoln dinner put on by Log Cabin Republicans—a group of conservative LGBTQ party members. The event, held Nov. 9 at Donald Trump’s Mar a Lago club, fêted Melania Trump and Ric Grenell, Trump’s former acting head of national intelligence and the first openly gay cabinet member in U.S. history.
“Conservatives in Log Cabin don’t just share our vision for a free, secure and prosperous America. They enrich it by adding unique perspectives to our party and recruiting even more diverse candidates and supporters to join our cause,” McDaniel said at the gala, according to Fox News.
McDaniel’s announcement of the pride coalition prompted criticism from conservatives, including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) who objected to McDaniel’s attempt at inclusion.
But not only did Bennett go a step further than his colleagues by calling for McDaniel’s resignation if she didn’t retract her statements, but he also did so the morning after she clarified her position.
His email cites the official GOP platform, which, more than six years after the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, still defines “natural marriage” as between “a man and a woman.” (The current platform, which will extend through at least 2024, is identical to the platform from 2016—the year after the landmark SCOTUS ruling—which the party left unchanged last summer amid chaotic and contentious negotiations ahead of the national convention.)
Bennett also blasted a handful of Log Cabin policies in the email, including its call for “a nationwide ban on conversion therapy for anyone under the age of 18.”
A right-wing hawk who once called Islam “a cancer in our nation which needs to be cut out,” Bennett was himself the subject of calls for resignation from members of his own party in August after he compared vaccine mandates to the persecution of Jews during the Holocaust. In response, he doubled down and used the controversy to raise money.