The NAACP is calling on Prince William County board chairman, Corey Stewart, to step down.
The civil rights organization says Stewart’s remarks regarding recent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia are damaging to the country. The group expressed fear that Stewart’s comments will make white nationalist groups feel welcome in Prince William County.
This week, he is getting national attention for his comments about the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“I think the President did the right thing by calling out and condemning racist activists but also condemning violence by both extremes,” Stewart said.
The NAACP says those words may embolden white nationalists and neo-Nazis and encourage those groups to protest in Prince William County.
Stewart made his support of Confederate monuments a major talking point during his failed campaign for the Republican nomination for Virginia's gubernatorial primary for governor, which he lost by a slim margin. Now, the NAACP says Stewart cares more about his bid for a Senate seat than the increasingly diverse Prince William’s County community.
“I say to you today: if he cannot be a leader for all people, I suggest it is time for him to step down,” Prince William County NAACP President Cozy Bailey said during a press conference outside the boardroom where Stewart presides over board meetings.
But Stewart has his own criticisms of the NAACP.
"The NAACP has become a tool of the far left in Prince William County. Used to be a good organization. They've gone downhill," he said.
Stewart says he will not back down from calling out extremists on the left or from his support of preserving Confederate memorials.
“Clearly the neo-Nazis, the KKK those are white supremacists. Those are racists. Those are horrible people. But what I don't want to do is label everybody who wants to support our history and keep our history as a white supremacist. And that's what the left is trying to do,” Stewart said.
However, Stewart also has critics within his own party. Martin Nohe, another member of the Prince William County board, voiced concern about Stewart's comments.
"Is this consistent with the values of our community? I'm concerned it's attracting the wrong kind of attention to Prince William County," Nohe told News 4's Julie Carey.
The County Board has been on an August recess. Meetings resume in early September, and Stewart says he will be at the center of the dais, as usual.