Expecting heat for urging his members to “prepare for war,” St. Croix County Republican Party Chairman John Kraft was dismissive.
“No press is bad press as far as I’m concerned.”
On Friday, Kraft resigned as party chairman.
Members of the St. Croix County Republican Party Executive Committee said they asked for Kraft’s resignation after his post on the party’s homepage gained national attention.
In a news release, the board said Kraft was now out.
“The website was created and posted by our chairman, without consultation, review, or approval of the Executive Committee,” said the one-page statement. “We reject the language used and have taken down the website. The resignation of the chairman was requested and received.”
Kraft could not be reached for comment.
The homepage for the party had carried the Latin phrase “Si vis pacem, para bellum,” which is followed by a translation: “If you want peace, prepare for war.”
The page had also called on “patriots” to join the “digital battlefield” in “eliminating” leftist “tyrants” from local offices.
The Journal Sentinel first reported on the website Monday, less than a week after a deadly pro-President Donald Trump riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Kraft initially resisted calls to take down the page from many sides, including the state Republican Party Chairman Andrew Hitt, who said the message was inappropriate in light of last week’s MAGA-inspired riot, which left five people dead.
“If you think there’s a story there, great,” said Kraft, who was one of three litigants in a conservative lawsuit to block Gov. Tony Evers’ statewide mask mandate.
The local party decided to pull the site in the middle of the week.
In its statement, the executive committee of the St. Croix GOP vowed to support the goals of the Republican Party by communicating its ideas in a civil manner.
“While we remain committed to forthright discussion of political ideas and differences, that discussion must be within the confines of civil discourse, without the perception of intimidation, accusation or threats,” the statement said. “We oppose violence as a method to achieve political goals.”
The statement concluded:
“To maintain any credibility, ALL political parties should immediately join us in condemning the violence of the past year, ongoing violence and the incitement to it.”
It also came to light in recent days that Kraft, an IT professional, had posted incendiary remarks on his own Facebook page.
In a Saturday post, for example, he thanked “Patriots” for attending a Friday night GOP event focused on “organizing against the full on attacks from the left.” Kraft called the event timely in light of recent events.
“It’s never been clearer that we are absolutely at war with the left, and they are now making the full frontal assault on the first amendment,” Kraft wrote in a note with two pictures of a largely unmasked crowd at the Friday meeting.
“The second (amendment) will be next,” concluded Kraft, who has since made his page private.
The First Amendment to the Constitution grants five freedoms, including the right to free speech. The Second Amendment gives American citizens the right to keep and bear arms.
Contact Daniel Bice at (414) 313-6684 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @DanielBice or on Facebook at fb.me/daniel.bice.