Embattled Trenton Councilwoman Robin Vaughn apologized for a series of profanities and homophobic statements on a call with city lawmakers that has pushed top Democrats in the state to call for her resignation Wednesday, but she doesn’t intend to resign.
“I apologize. That must be the first thing that you hear from me. I am deeply and specifically sorry for the language that has offended so many. It was also not my intent to attack anyone on the basis of an classification or personal preferences, but should have been more sensitive to the potential implication of my words and how they might be perceived,” Vaughn said in a statement.
“In any event, the language used and the statements were not appropriate, and I regret letting my emotions get the best of me.”
During a COVID-19 briefing teleconference on between Trenton officials Saturday, Vaughn accused Mayor Reed Gusciora of being a “drug addict” and a “pedophile” and repeatedly told Councilman Joe Harrison to “suck Reed’s dick.”
Guisciora is Trenton’s first openly-gay mayor and was the first-openly gay member of the state legislature.
“I was wrong and I own that,” Vaughn said. “As an elected official, my responsibility to the citizenry is to represent with dignity, decency and respect of all persons, no matter our individual differences, behaviors or presentations.”
Vaughn’s statements led top Democrats in the state, including Gov. Phil Murphy, U.S. Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, Lt Gov. Sheila Oliver and Democratic State Chairman John Currie, to call for the councilwoman’s resignation.
The councilwoman isn’t heeding those calls.
“I remain completely focused on the immense task at hand,” Vaughn said, referring to the pandemic. “Only through the cooperation of our varied entities will we meet the challenge. Please share that goal with me.”
Vaughn came under fire last year over her defense of Trenton Council President Kathy McBride’s use of a homophobic trope.