In April, Daniel P. Leonard, a school board member from Beachwood, N.J., decided to post an article to Facebook about Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s (D-Mich.) support of hunger strikes to protest Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Then, he added: “My life would be complete if she/they die,” he wrote in a since-deleted post saved by the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Now, Leonard, an avid fan of President Donald Trump, is facing actual consequences for that and other racists posts he had shared regarding women of color.
The Toms River Regional Board of Education has announced that Leonard faces a potential ethics investigation over his anti-Muslim posts, according to The Washington Post. Officials including New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) and Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver (D) have been urging Leonard to resign.
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Leonard has a history of posting racist things to his Facebook. Also in April, Leonard had posted a video of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) with the caption, “Terrorist. . . 100%.”
Again, in April, Leonard published a meme about “Sharia Barbie,” a brown-skinned doll in a hijab with a black eye and a purple bottom lip. “Comes with jihab [sic], bruises, & Quran,” the text read.
A board meeting was held Wednesday night to discuss whether ethics violations took place and what action should be taken, NJ.com reported. At the meeting, residents voiced their concerns, but Leonard has still so far refused to step down.
“That was a threat to me,” said one mother in reference to the post about Tlaib. “My daughters wear hijabs in school. How are they supposed to feel safe?”
Leonard has tried to defend his posts by saying he is “Anti-Sharia Law” and that he speaks out “against Radical Islam . . . Not Muslims.”
Leonard acknowledged that his posts on Tlaib, Omar and “Sharia Barbie” have “impacted the district” and vowed to “be more cautious going forward.”
“I will never back down, but I vow to be more articulate in my approach so that the message I am trying to convey as a private citizen is clear and precise and in no way reflects the position of the Board,” Leonard wrote in a post.