Harris County

Harris County GOP Chair-Elect Resigns After Sharing Racist Facebook Post Juxtaposing An MLK Quote With A Banana

Outcry over his racist post on Facebook prompted Keith Nielsen, the chair-elect of the Harris County Republican Party, to say he won’t take the job in August.

Keith Nielsen.

Harris County Republican Party chair-elect Keith Nielsen announced on Facebook he will not take office in August, days after defending a racist post related to ongoing protests on racial inequity.

"I have spent my entire adult life supporting conservative candidates and causes and I am grateful for the thousands of supporters who have reached out to me over the last several days," Nielsen wrote in a Facebook post. "I regret that I must step aside as Chairman-elect of the Harris County Republican Party and will not be taking office on Aug. 3rd."

The Tribune previously reported that Nielson posted an image on Facebook earlier this week that showed a Martin Luther King Jr. quote — “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” — on a background with a banana. The juxtaposition of the quote and the banana can be read as an allusion to equating black people with monkeys, a well-worn racist trope.

Nielsen appears to have deleted the post and apparently addressed it on his Facebook page Thursday evening. On Friday he said he would not resign, before changing course on Saturday and announcing that he would not be taking office on Aug. 3. Nielsen did not address the reason for his stepping down in his post.

“I will continue to stand up for the values that have made our country great...’Faith, family and freedom,'” Nielson wrote. “Dr. King's quote is as relevant today as when it was delivered. ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.'”

Nielson was one of several Texas GOP members to post racist remarks following days of protests in Texas, garnering criticism from Republican officials in the state. He did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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