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Trenton’s redevelopment attorney resigned Thursday over anti-Semitic comments made by Council President Kathy McBride.
“I am an American and I am a Jew. I am resigning because of the disgraceful and shameful anti-Semitic remarks that were in fact made by the Council President of the City of Trenton, Kathy McBride,” Stuart Platt said in his letter of resignation.
Platt was appointed by Mayor Reed Gusciora and unanimously confirmed by the Council in June.
Over the past week, three Trenton council members have faced fire over anti-Semitic comments.
McBride used the term “Jew her down” while discussing the settlement of a lawsuit, according to a recording of a Sept. 5 closed-door executive Council session obtained by the New Jersey Globe.
Two other members of the council, Robin Vaughn and George Muschal, defended McBride’s use of the term.
Muschal said it was simply a “statement of speech,” while Vaughn said the term “Jew her down” was a verb and suggested there was nothing improper about it.
McBride issued a belated apology at a council meeting on Tuesday after days of refusing to comment on her statement, citing a cone of silence around executive sessions.
Vaughn issued her own apology on Wednesday, including a defense of McBride’s but saying that her defense of the term was “an error of my judgement.”
Muschal said he apologized to one of the attorneys involved and provided the New Jersey Globe with a screen shot of his response to the Associated Press.
Those only came after Gusciora, Gov. Phil Murphy, U.S. Sens. Cory Booker and Bob Menendez and the entire New Jersey House delegation condemned the three Trenton Council members.
“As an American and a Jew, I cannot and will not represent anti-Semites,” Platt said. “As an American and a Jew, I will not devote my time, energy, efforts and talents as a redevelopment to a majority of the City Council. I will not accept their money nor their hollow and disingenuous apologies.”
On Tuesday, the council voted against censures against the three councilmembers pushed by Councilman Jerell Blakeley by a margin of 2-5. Only Councilman Joseph Harrison sided with Blakeley and voted to condemn the three councilmembers for their defense and use of the anti-Semitic trope.
In his letter of resignation, Platt thanked Gusciora, Harrison and Blakeley for their condemnation of the McBride’s comments.
“This act of resignation by me, while perhaps a small matter to the rest of the world, is action in the face of anti-Semitism nonetheless,” Platt said. “Jews and other people of good will need to send a message that anti-Semitism is not acceptable and those who foster this creed of cowardice, lies and ignorance will be held accountable.”Muschal 091819_Redacted
Platt Resignation Letter
This story was updated at 5:01 PM to include Muschal’s response.