AUBURN (CBS13) – There’s plenty of fallout in the town of Auburn following Mayor Bill Kirby’s words aimed at President Donald Trump and his supporters over the White House’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
A Facebook page called William Kirby, Mayor of Auburn Fan Club, and others have shared these posts and comments made by Kirby.
One of them shows a reposting of a meme by the mayor stating “Good news for Trump supporters is that most of them already have masks,” showing a hooded KKK member.
A different comment shows an exchange between Kirby and another person in which profanity was used.
There was also a comment shared on the page was Kirby writing, “I am calm. Just a realist. If Hitler and everyone who supported him was removed from the face of the earth in 1939 the world would be a much better place today. The same is more true of Trump and his supporters today.”
Some people in Auburn were taken aback by the mayor’s comments.
“I was definitely shocked. And, I don’t think it’s appropriate especially in these times,” Leana Haddad said.
Frank Oradaz, who told CBS13 he’s known Kirby for a decade, said, “I don’t necessarily support Trump, but anytime somebody feels like you like the policies of the president, then you’re a racist, you’re a bigot, you should die, and I think that’s uncalled for.”
Mayor Kirby sent CBS13 the following statement regarding the situation:
“I have spent 40 years of my life dedicated to serving Auburn as a physician and through my volunteer efforts.
Some people have viewed my posts, which were meant to be private and made out of frustration as over the top. Some were and I regret that.
I want to share with you where my frustrations have come from. As a doctor I see nurses, respiratory therapists, other medical staff, first responders and my medical colleagues as well as their patients dying unnecessarily because of the lack of preparation for the Corona virus, The President has put us all at risk.
I believe history will judge those who stood up against damaging policies and ideologies and those that did not.”
Folks in Auburn said whether Kirby’s comments were meant to be private or not shouldn’t matter.
“If you’re a public figure, it doesn’t matter who’s Facebook page, which social media page you’re using, in my opinion. Because people know who you are,” Sean Boyd said.
“Once you put something out on the internet, it’s not personal anymore. You know what I mean?” Rex Stallions said. You may think it is. You make one little mistake it’s all out there.”
There are some people calling for Kirby’s removal from office and others are creating Facebook pages dedicated to just that.
CBS13 also spoke to Auburn city council members Daniel Berlant and Sandy Arama about the mayor’s comments and posts.
“Free speech is an important tenant of our society, but I don’t condone any type of hate speech. I don’t know the full context of the statements, so I can’t speculate,” Berlant said. “We are in the middle of a global pandemic and can’t afford to lose attention on the issues facing our community. The City must stay focused right now on the health of our residents, assist our small business owners, and ensure city services continue to be provided.”
Arama told CBS13, “I don’t condone what Mayor Kirby has posted on his Facebook posts. Mayor Kirby has issued an apology and I’m certain that he understands that this behavior isn’t beneficial to our city. I’m sure during this time and during the pandemic that he will be focusing on the many issues that are currently in front of us.”
Another city official told CBS13 that city council can’t force a sitting council member to resign or remove them from office. But, one option is a recall election called for by voters.
“I think whatever the citizens want to do they’re going to make their voices heard just like this particular mayor did,” Boyd said.
“I think he’s up for re-election so make your vote count there,” Ordaz said.
The other two options that could happen are that Kirby himself could resign as mayor or city council could vote to pick a new mayor with Kirby remaining on city council.
Auburn city council is scheduled to hold its latest virtual city council meeting April 13 at 6 p.m. via Zoom.