Some members of the Utah GOP State Central Committee, including the State Secretary and a Utah County GOP leader, seem to have no problem with making nazi-themed jokes inside a private Facebook page.
Josh Daniels, the Utah County GOP vice-chairman, responded to a post about a planned cookout and celebration following Saturday's state central committee meeting with a Nazi joke seemingly aimed at the organizers of Count My Vote.
"Speaking of pork...we should lave a Nazi themed party with polish dogs or weenies and sauerkraut and call it 'kraut my vote,'" wrote Daniels on the UTGOP SCC - OFFICIAL Facebook page. "Kraut my vote" is a reference to the Count My Vote petition initiative which provides an alternative path to the primary ballot for candidates outside of the traditional convention route.
State Secretary Lisa Shepherd replied that Daniels' post was "The best comment ever," followed by a trophy emoji.
Former State Representative Fred Cox worried that the comment "would not be perceived right" no matter how funny it may seem.
Andrew Young, the chair of the Iron County GOP agreed with Cox, even though he thought Daniels' comments were a "cleaver (sic) play on words."
Later in the thread, Daniels offered up an apology of sorts, retracting any previous sarcastic jokes that may be misconstrued or taken out of context." He said his point was to imply that the leaders of Count My Vote "have fascist tendencies."
Screenshots of Daniels' comment were provided to UtahPolicy.com.
Daniels' comment about "polish dogs" could be construed as especially offensive since the Nazis wiped out over six million Polish citizens during World War II.
When reached for comment, Daniels apologized for the post, saying he did not mean to offend anyone.
"I've retracted the joke," he said in a Saturday afternoon phone conversation with UtahPolicy.com. "It was ill-conceived. An imprecise reference that was not intended to offend."
Daniels says he was trying to compare Count My Vote's efforts to fascism,
"It's common parlance for people to use the term 'Nazi' to reference fascism. When a teenager is mad at their parents, the teen will call them 'Nazi's' not 'fascists,'" said Daniels. "This has nothing to do with white supremacy or racism. I feel like what CMV is doing is fascistic, seeking to control the Utah GOP and the state for their own purposes."
Count My Vote failed to get their citizen's initiative on the November ballot, failing by a few hundred signatures after opponents successfully coordinated an effort to remove signatures. CMV appealed to the Utah Supreme Court that the signature-removal process was unconstitutional.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Daniels is the Senior Director, State Relations for Connections Education, a Maryland-based online education company. He previously served as a Policy Director for the Libertarian Libertas Institute.