Providence Democratic Party chairman resigns over 'childish meme'
Providence Democratic City Committee Chairman Patrick Ward resigned Friday over what he previously described as "a childish meme" on social media.
Senior Deputy Majority Leader Nicholas Narducci Jr. confirmed Ward's resignation, which Mayor Jorge Elorza and members of the Providence City Council sought.
“I’d like to apologize to every member of the Providence Democratic City Committee and I’d like to apologize to anyone who found this meme offensive,” Ward told NBC 10 News Thursday. “I regret doing what I did.”
The meme, which Ward posted in December and later deleted, depicted a scene from one of "The Godfather" movies. It shows two actors portraying mobsters, with the names, "David" and "John" typed over them.
Ward, who is married to Councilwoman Sabina Matos, was likely referring to Council President David Salvatore and Providence City Council Majority Leader John J. Igliozzi.
"It was just kind of a moment of anger, I guess," Ward said. "My wife had been acting council president and there was a very sudden movement in the council leadership."
Elorza, along with several council members, wanted Ward to step down.
"Providence is an inclusive city, a city that welcomes and supports its residents regardless of their ethnicity, gender, religion and sexual orientation. I join many of my colleagues in government and the community when I say that the chairman of the Providence City Committee's actions are unacceptable and I call on him to resign as chair," Elorza said.
Narducci shared similar sentiments, calling the post "shameful," as well as racist.
"This is a critical time for the Democratic party, and we cannot afford to be divided internally," he said. "It is time for the chairman to step aside and let the Providence City Committee move forward with a new leadership that exemplifies our commitment to inclusiveness, diversity and tolerance. The chairman needs to step down immediately."
But Ward has asked for forgiveness. He shared a separate post on social media, apologizing to everyone he offended, including Salvatore and Igliozzi.
"I have nothing but the utmost respect for Council President Salvatore and Councilman Igliozzi," he wrote. "I hope very much that they find it in their heart to forgive me. In addition, I ask for the forgiveness of every member of the Providence Democratic City Committee and anyone else I may have offended with this foolish act."
Still, Igliozzi described the post as "derogatory and hateful." He also said it's intolerable.
“It’s disheartening, it’s insulting and it’s derogatory,” Igliozzi said. “When it’s supposedly somebody that we have gone out of our way to elect and support and to be a leader of the Democratic City Committee, and they go out of their way to try and be hurtful and insulting, I think that’s what makes it worse."
“This is not about being an Italian American,” said Salvatore. “This is not consistent with who we are as people in the city of Providence.”