Steve Krieser (right) was fired by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (left) after writing on Facebook that he sees Satan when he looks at undocumented immigrants.
Krieser was the third-highest ranking member in Wisconsin’s Department of Transportation.
The conversation was sparked when Gordon Hintz, a Democrat in the Wisconsin State Assembly, posted a photo of an "illegal immigrant hunting permit" sticker.
Former Wisconsin Republican Rep. Joe Handrick got involved and compared undocumented immigrants to Jesus.
Krieser sounded off:
Sorry Joe, but I'm not with you on this one. The sticker is probably over the top, and while some people are undoubtedly motivated by racial animus, I think you err in insinuating that opposition to illegal immigration generally is driven primarily by racism...The illegals themselves have bred the animus that many American citizens feel toward them. You may see Jesus when you look at them. I see Satan. And if they don't like it here, hey, the door they came through to get here swings both ways.
Josh Zepnick, a Milwaukee Democrat with a heavy concentration of Latinos in his district, called Krieser a moron for his comments in an angry response.
Walker's office released a statement condemning the remarks.
Krieser attempted to explain himself to the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel:
Reached Thursday before his firing, Krieser explained that he had taken down his Facebook post. He emphasized that he had not written the item or posted it with a state computer or on state time. As for likening illegal immigrants to Satan, Krieser reluctantly apologized, explaining that he had used "a poor choice of words." He eventually said he was sorry for what he said. "If I had it to do over, I would not have put it up," Krieser said. "I certainly didn't mean any offense."
Adrian Carrasquillo is the White House correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.
Contact Adrian Carrasquillo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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