COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — The co-chair of the Colorado Springs chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union resigned on Friday after posting on Facebook that he would shoot Donald Trump supporters before election day.
Loring Wirbel told The Gazette (http://goo.gl/onVKKf ) the post was not meant to be taken seriously, but he acknowledged it could be seen as offensive.
"It was intended totally as a joke," he said. "They are taking that stuff out of context. It's smear politics."
Along with a USA Today opinion article calling Trump a fear monger, Wirbel posted, in part, "We have to really reach out to those who might consider voting for Trump and say, 'This is Goebbels. This is the final solution. If you are voting for him I will have to shoot you before election day.'"
Joseph Goebbels was Adolf Hitler's propagandist and advocated for the murder of millions of Jews.
Trump has been compared frequently to Hitler following his call to prohibit Muslims from immigrating to the United States.
Daniel Cole, executive director of the El Paso County Republican Party, was the first to repost Wirbel's comment on Facebook and question whether it was appropriate coming from a leader of an organization that stands for free speech and equal access to voting.
"I think it's outrageous on its face," Cole said. "It's beyond belief that he would think it was acceptable to post something like that."
Cole added that it was particularly egregious in a community still recovering from the recent mass shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic.
The ACLU of Colorado also released a statement saying it did not condone Wirbel's post. "Our members, supporters, and volunteers are free to express their own personal views and opinions in their personal lives. We have fought for decades to preserve that right, as well, for all Coloradans, no matter how strongly we disagree with the content," the statement read.
But the ACLU noted that personal posts on social media sites should not be mistaken as the views of the organization as a whole.
Wirbel's post has since been deleted.
Information from: The Gazette, http://www.gazette.com