Pressure to Resign Growing on New Hampshire Legislator Who Posted Link to Neo-Nazi Website
Residents of the New Hampshire town of Laconia are demanding the resignation of a Republican state legislator who posted a link to an article on a neo-Nazi website that included a viciously antisemitic cartoon.
Newly-elected state representative Dawn Johnson shared a Dec. 7 post from the “Daily Stormer” — a website run by an American Hitler-worshiper, Andrew Anglin, that is named in honor of the Nazi gutter newspaper “Der Sturmer.”
The article shared by Johnson regurgitated unsubstantiated claims that last month’s US presidential election was rigged in favor of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
At the foot of the piece was a cartoon showing the Republican governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, standing next to a crudely-drawn stereotype of an elderly Jewish man carrying a sign that announced “rent hike effective immediately.” The caricature was accompanied by the caption, “Riggers, Jews…Bad News.”
Johnson, who also serves on the Laconia School Board, later expressed regret for sharing an article from a neo-Nazi outlet. “I have removed the report as it came from a source I do not agree with and thanks to a couple of people who showed me,” she wrote on her Facebook page.
However, Johnson has firmly rejected calls for her resignation from both the New Hampshire legislature and the local school board.
On Monday, both Rabbi Dan Danson of Temple B’nai Israel in Laconia and Laconia School Board Chairperson Heather Lounsbury told The Laconia Daily Sun that local residents had “swamped” them with emails and messages over the weekend demanding that Johnson resign.
Danson expressed concern that Johnson’s reference to the “Daily Stormer” as a “source I do not agree with” suggested she did not properly grasp the outlet’s toxic nature.
“An important element of this is it names what the problem is,” Danson told The Laconia Daily Sun. “The source (of Johnson’s post) is the most virulent, prominent, antisemitic website in the country.”
Danson said he would accept Johnson’s word that her post was inadvertent, but emphasized, “the gravity of that impact, having a state representative essentially sending out a message that says American Jews are in a conspiracy to destroy democracy — it’s just a very upsetting and disturbing thing to be seen.”
School Board chair Lounsbury said that the majority of messages she received condemned Johnson.
“Most emails that I have gotten and, from what I’ve heard most of the voice mails, do express great displeasure with quotes she made and majority of them are asking for her resignation from the board,” Lounsbury noted.
New Hampshire politicians also weighed in on the controversy, with Republican Governor Chris Sununu issuing a statement denouncing “antisemitism and racism in all its forms.”
“These comments are repugnant and appalling,” he added.
Some local leaders also rose to Johnson’s defense. One of her fellow Republican legislators, Gregg Hough, claimed that Johnson was the victim of “a hack job designed to destroy somebody who absolutely did nothing wrong.”