After a strong indictment of Tom Schweich’s political opponents within his own party, some are calling for the resignation of the Missouri Republican Party’s recently elected chairman. Most who have made such a suggestion have not made it publicly, but a member of Schweich’s staff in his Auditor’s office is speaking out.
“Let’s pledge that we will not put up with any whisper of anti-Semitism,” said former U.S. Senator John Danforth.
That was part of his message as he stood on a pulpit over most of Missouri’s current crop of elected officials, eulogizing one of their own. Danforth said before his death, Schweich told him he believed a whispering campaign saying he was Jewish was being conducted to use anti-Semitic sentiment to cost him votes in his race for Governor.
The spokesman for the auditor’s office under Schweich, Spence Jackson, says Republican Party Chairman John Hancock and Republican candidate for governor Catherine Hanaway were behind that campaign.
“I believe with all my heart that John knew what he was doing,” Jackson told Missourinet. “He knew the reaction he was seeking from people. He knew what he was trying to get out of people.”
Jackson said the alleged whispering campaign had been weighing on Schweich for months. As Danforth said in his eulogy, Jackson also said Schweich was passionate when he believed anti-Semitism was occurring.
“His grandfather was a persecuted Jew in Germany. He had a card which Tom kept with him that said, ‘This belongs to Julius Schweich, who is a good Jew.’ I don’t have to tell you what a loaded term that was,” said Jackson. “Traditions and values get passed from generation to generation in families, and one of those traditions that was passed down through the Schweich family was when you see anti-Semitism, you speak out against it. You do something about it.”
“It just kept getting worse in Tom’s mind,” said Jackson. “I wish it hadn’t, but it did.”
Jackson said it would be “fitting” for Hancock to resign, “simply because his anti-Semitic whisper campaign does not reflect the values of the majority of Missouri Republicans.”
Jackson said even if Hancock was not behind any “whispering campaign,” he believes it would be better for the party that the chairman, who was elected less than two weeks ago at the Party’s Reagan Lincoln days event in Kansas City, step down.
“There’s just no way that you can have this cloud hanging around the chairman of your political party heading into a crucial election year like 2016, particularly when the presumptive Democratic candidate Jason Kander shares Tom’s Jewish heritage,” said Jackson.
Kander has announced he is challenging U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO). That announcement last month by Kander, who is Jewish, was praised by the National Jewish Democratic Council.
“You can’t have a chairman of a Republican party who’s been out conducting, coordinating this sort of a whisper campaign while at the top of the ticket, the first person on a Missouri ballot that people will see underneath the president, will be the candidate for the United States Senate, and that candidate more likely than not is going to be Jason Kander, who is Jewish, and I’m sure is very proud of his Jewish heritage just like Tom Schweich was,” said Jackson.
Hancock has denied the allegations and declined additional comment following the memorial service. His spokesman released this statement: “Today is not an appropriate time to engage in political back-and-forth. Out of respect for Tom and his family, we have nothing to add at this time.”