LANSING, Mich. — Meshawn Maddock, the co-chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party, labeled Pete Buttigieg, the U.S. secretary of transportation and a gay former officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve, a “weak little girl” in a tweet Sunday.
Maddock’s post drew immediate criticism from Democrats with state Rep. Samantha Steckloff, D-Farmington Hills, calling on Republicans “to stand up against this garbage” and to ask for Maddock’s “immediate removal.”
“The @migop chair chose today to raise homophobic and bigoted attacks against Michiganders,” Steckloff tweeted.
Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and a 2020 Democratic candidate for president, and his husband, Chasten, recently moved to the Traverse City area, where Chasten is originally from.
Maddock of Milford serves as the Michigan GOP’s co-chair under Chairman Ron Weiser.
On Sunday afternoon, she shared a tweet from the Republican National Committee that featured video of Buttigieg talking about California’s plan to ban new gas-powered vehicle sales by 2035 and saying the country needs to “move in the direction of electric vehicles.”
“We’re so blessed this weak little girl moved to Michigan,” Maddock wrote in her tweet about the video. “Looks like he’s bringing all his California Dreaming here with him.”
Maddock and a Michigan Republican Party spokesperson did not immediately respond Monday morning to requests for comment about Maddock’s description of Buttigieg as a “weak little girl.”
By 9:30 a.m. Monday, Maddock’s post had nearly 2,000 replies.
Asked about the tweet, Lavora Barnes, chairwoman of the Michigan Democratic Party, said Democrats will use it to raise money and rally voters to action.
“But I am not responding to homophobic crazy,” Barnes said.
Maddock has drawn criticism before for social media posts.
In January, a tweet from Maddock about Democratic Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II also spurred backlash.
Gilchrist, who’s the state’s first Black lieutenant governor, posted a video in which he talked about resuming public activities after testing positive for COVID-19. In the clip, he wore a mask while he spoke.
Maddock retweeted Gilchrist’s message and said, “Show this video to a babies and watch them cry. Scary masked man should #StayHome.”
Barnes, who also is Black, called Maddock’s comment racist at the time.
“Is it still accurate to call something a dog whistle as it’s actively shattering your eardrums?” Barnes said.