It appears the days of Berlin’s Scott Veley as a member of the Connecticut Republican State Committee may be numbered. The top Republican lawmaker in the state wants Veley to resign after the flap over his displaying of the Confederate battle flag at his home. Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano joined Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst in calling for Veley to step down.
Veley’s decision to protest the national backlash against the flag by flying it, taking a picture of it and posting of Facebook was clearly a major mistake if judged by the response of others, including those in his own party.
Upon further review, those speaking out the fastest and strongest on the flag issue may be another case of just-below-the-surface competition among Republicans interested in running for governor in 2018. Both Herbst and Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton were out front in condemning Veley’s ill-advised move against what he called the “..Politically Correct absurdity” of calling for the flag to come down.
Herbst wrote to Veley asking for his resignation:
I have had the opportunity to review recent comments you have made relative to the Confederate flag and the reactions from the NAACP. Your conduct and your comments were insensitive and senseless. Your conduct lacks any semblance of decency. The fact that you have no understanding of the consequence of your actions is equally alarming. Your actions give all Connecticut Republicans a black eye. Your continued presence on the Republican State Central Committee is bad for our party and bad for our state. You should resign your seat on the Republican State Central Committee immediately. If you refuse to resign, the entire membership of the Republican State Central Committee should vote to censure you at their next meeting for your conduct. Your continued involvement in the Connecticut Republican Party brings no value to the mission of electing good people to public office.
Boughton was out with his condemnation in an almost immediate tweet:
Fasano, who carries more weight and influence than either Herbst or Boughton, made his position clear Sunday morning:
“One hundred-fifty years after the end of the Civil War, the confederate flag still represents slavery, still represents the bloody war fought in defense of slavery, still represents prejudice and oppression. Mr. Veley has a constitutional right to freedom of speech, and he displays the Confederate flag on private property, but that flag is a reflection of bigotry, divisiveness and hate. It is not representative of the values of the Republican Party or of Connecticut Republicans. As a Republican legislative leader, I feel that Mr. Veley’s actions are a distraction from the policy initiatives of Republicans in our state and our efforts to advance legislation that moves our state forward and rejects intolerance and prejudice. Mr. Veley is a member of the Republican State Central Committee. This action by someone in Mr. Veley’s position is unacceptable. I join with others in condemning in the strongest of terms the display of the Confederate flag. I also strongly urge Mr. Veley to resign from his position with the state party.”
Fasano’s contention that the whole flag flap is a distraction from the policy issues championed by the GOP echoes what The Shad wrote Saturday.
Herbst and Boughton already have a rivalry for who should be considered the next Republican gubernatorial nominee. Fasano has made no such effort to be considered (although he probably should).
The only question now is how these subplots play out and whether Veley heeds the advice to resign from the party’s governing body.