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Trenton City Councilwoman Robin Vaughn apologized tonight for defending the use of the term “Jew down” by one of her colleagues and for saying the derogatory term was “just a verb.”
“First and foremost, I am sincerely sorry. My comments were wrong. Never was it my intention to hurt, disrespect or demean anyone when I described a racial slur or its usage, as a verb,” Vaughn said. “I defended my Council colleague for using the derogatory term, ‘Jew down.'”
Vaughn said she doesn’t think Council President Kathy McBride, who used the anti-Semitic trope during comments in a closed-door council meeting to discuss the settlement of a lawsuit, meant any harm.
“I do not believe her to hate Jews nor harbor anti-Semitic feelings. Nonetheless, my defense of her behavior was an error of my judgment,” said Vaughn. “My sincere intention is to be the best elected and public official possible. In the risks and requirements of the job, mistakes will be made. This is my request for forgiveness to all of those I may have offended. I respectfully ask that you allow me to continue doing the work to build our capital city, Trenton, New Jersey.”
Earlier today, the entire twelve-member New Jersey House delegation called upon Vaughn to either apologize or resign.
Vaughn and her council colleagues had faced considerable criticism over the last few days from top Democratic elected officials, including Gov. Phil Murphy and U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker.
McBride apologized for her comments at a council meeting last night, saying she didn’t intend to insult anyone.
“I am apologizing to the community at large because, in my position, you cannot make anyone feel insulted or be we cannot be insensitive to any ethnic background, so I am apologizing to the community at large,” McBride said.
In defending McBride, Councilman George Muschal told the New Jersey Globe that “Jew her down” was “just a statement of speech.”
“You know, it’s like a car dealer, they wanted $5,000, you Jew ‘em down to $4,000,” Muschal said. “It’s nothing vicious. The expression has been said millions of times.”
Vaughn, who continues to defend McBride on social media, said that “Jew her down” was just a verb and didn’t see anything wrong with the term.
An attempt to censure the Trenton councilmembers for their anti-Semitic comments led by Councilman Jerrell Blakeley was defeated last night by a 2-5 vote.