Orange County's Democratic Party deputy chair Jeff LeTourneau resigned on Wednesday after both parties were outraged over re-sharing a Facebook post celebrating Vietnamese communist leader Ho Chi Minh, the Los reports Angeles Times.
The post, which was deleted about 90 minutes after it was cleared by LeTourneau on Sunday, read in part: “Ho Chi Minh liberated an entire poor, colonized nation from two of the most powerful imperial forces in the world (US and France). and gained full independence for the people of Vietnam. "
Minh founded the Viet Minh in 1941 and died six years before the North Communist forces conquered the then South Vietnamese capital Saigon in 1975, which was later renamed Ho Chi Minh City.
LeTourneau's remarks came in the O.C. does not look good, where its 183,000 Vietnamese residents make it the largest Vietnamese community in the country, formed in large part by refugees who fled South Vietnam to escape reprisals for joining US forces.
LeTourneau apologized Tuesday, saying, "These memories of atrocities and pain come to mind and I want to let the Vietnamese community know that I am not immune to their pain." I promise to learn and be better. As an LGBTQ + activist of over forty, I see the power that words have on people. "
In an upcoming election, however, the candidates on both sides of the aisle quickly pounced on LeTourneau.
Janet Nguyen, the Republican State Assembly candidate for the 72nd district, said on Facebook on Monday: "Many Vietnamese Americans have direct relatives who fought their lives for freedom and democracy against Ho Chi Minh."
On Tuesday, her Democratic opponent denounced Deidre Nguyen LeTourneau's post during a press conference in Freedom Park, the Vietnam War Memorial in Westminster, saying, “Let me be very clear … We condemn all communist propaganda and all communist sympathizers … as democrats. We fight for every human right, for democracy in Vietnam. "
Also on Tuesday, Garden Grove Councilor Kim Nguyen said the name Ho Chi Minh "rings synonymous with Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini or Castro for many in the Vietnamese community."
LeTourneau told the OC voice on Tuesday that he had shared a comment in recognition of how Minh "was able to free his country from colonialism and military occupation despite his small stature and lack of wealth."
"That meant to me," he explained. "Don't let anyone tell you that you can't do great things because you have no office, money, or power. Don't let anyone tell you that you can't be a leader – leaders come in all shapes and sizes. "
In a statement announcing his resignation on Wednesday, LeTourneau said: “I hope that my resignation from leadership positions in the Democratic Party will be a first step in the healing and reconciliation of our communities. I hope that Democrats across Orange County can unite behind our candidates and the values of the Democratic Party. "
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