We aren’t going to join the call for Marvin Rodriguez to resign from office. He’s doing a fine job of disqualifying himself from another term, and we trust voters will move him out in a few months.
Mr. Rodriguez, currently the chairman of the Riley County Commission, continues to dig his own grave. In response to demands Thursday that he step down, he made himself look even worse, as amazing as that might seem. As you probably know, a week ago he said that the Manhattan area didn’t have much of a problem with the coronavirus, since we don’t have many Chinese people in town. He said that the root of the problems in Italy were that there were a bunch of Chinese people there working in the clothing industry.
In response, people attending Thursday’s meeting called for him to step down. He didn’t address that request directly, but defended his earlier comments in a way
that managed to make it worse. He said he didn’t mean to offend anybody, and “I have everybody on my mind ... and I’ve got a lot of Chinese food here and I’ve got some Chinese friends and stuff.”
So, right. The moo goo gai pan order somehow makes a person broad-minded.
And therefore it’s OK to blame a pandemic on one enthic group, and to write off those comments as just parroting the television. His earlier remarks “were comments that I received from the national news about the work of China. Chinese people in Italy, and how they worked, how China deliberately did what they did.”
So...China deliberately let loose a virus that created a pandemic? This is what our elected county commissioner is saying: That his comments were OK, since he has heard from blow-hard ideologues on TV that maybe China did all this on purpose.
Hoo boy. Not just ethnically insensitive, but borderline loony.
And, we might add, all of this came AFTER the president of the university directly called him out for the earlier comments. He doubled down.
We’re not going to call on Mr. Rodriguez to step down, but we would advise him at this point to just stop talking. He’s embarrassing himself and the entire county.
And then, after November, he can just go back to watching conspiracy-theory TV and muttering about Asians from the comfort of his own den, where nobody can hear him.