The man described as "the John Wayne of the airwaves" on radio station KKNT will have a more limited platform for his tough talk about women on public assistance and their right to give birth. Russell Pearce, a former Arizona senator who has been outspoken on the subject of immigration, resigned as first vice chair of the state GOP last night after critics decried recent comments he made on his talk-radio show, reports the Arizona Republic. According to a statement by Arizona Democratic Party Executive Director DJ Quinlan, Pearce said on the show that "you put me in charge of Medicaid, the first thing I'd do is get Norplant, birth-control implants, or tubal ligations. … Then we'll test recipients for drugs and alcohol, and if you want to [reproduce] or use drugs or alcohol, then get a job."
In a statement, Pearce agrees he talked about "the abuses to our welfare system,'" but said he was merely "[sharing] comments written by someone else" and forgot to cite the source. Reactions to his comments, as per the Republic:
- Quinlan writes that the "silence" of GOP leaders "indicates that they have made a cynical calculation that Russell Pearce and his brand of politics appeals to the most extreme elements of their electoral base."
- "I couldn't disagree more with Russell Pearce's deplorable comments. They have no place in our discourse,” tweeted Doug Ducey, a Republican hopeful for Arizona governor.
- Mark Brnovich, nominee for GOP attorney general, released a statement saying, "Comments that demean the plight of the poor, including women in the dual role of mother and economic provider, are not conservative; they're cruel. And I reject them."
- Republican state Sen. Michele Reagan tweeted, "The obnoxious comments made by Russell Pearce were both disgusting and offensive. Let it be known, he is NOT the voice of my GOP. #Resign!"