Democrats Want Trenton Official to Resign After Calling Gay Mayor ‘Pedophile’
TRENTON — New Jersey's top Democratic leaders, including Gov. Phil Murphy, are calling for the resignation of a city councilwoman over her vulgar and anti-gay tirade against the mayor during a conference call.
The Sunday call among the City Council and mayor degenerated into shouting and name calling, with Mayor Reed Gusciora calling Councilwoman Robin Vaughn, who was yelling about nonprofits that the administration was working with, "radioactive," "a 4-year-old" and "an idiot." Vaughn returned fire by calling the Democratic mayor, who is gay, a "motherf**king drug-addict pedophile" and accusing him of running drugs out of his office.
An audio file of most of the meeting was provided to the media by the mayor's office.
The meeting can be heard in full here (warning: includes profanity and slurs).
Gov. Phil Murphy was among those calling for Vaughn to resign immediately, according to his spokeswoman, Alyana Alfaro Post.
“Hateful language is never acceptable, and audio of the Trenton conference call demonstrates multiple parties engaging in an inappropriate and deeply troubling exchange. Governor Murphy condemns the hateful and homophobic comments made by Councilwoman Vaughn in the strongest terms. Our elected officials must be held to the highest standard and these remarks fly in the face of her office," Post said.
Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver said she was "deeply troubled" by Vaughn's comments and called for both an apology and her resignation.
Garden State Equality called Vaughn "unfit to serve the Trenton" because of her latest use of slurs and because of her past defense of another councilwoman's use of the phrase "Jew her down."
Both of New Jersey's U.S. senators want Vaughn, a Democrat who represents Trenton's West Ward, to leave office.
U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez called the language in the meeting "appalling, downright reprehensible and unfitting of anyone holding public office."
“Councilwoman Vaughn should do the good people of Trenton a favor and step aside to allow someone more fitting to represent them on the city council," Menendez said in a written statement.
“From her previous defense of anti-Semitic rhetoric in 2019, to her hateful words used against the LGBTQ community this weekend, Councilwoman Vaughn has shown a pattern of intolerance that has no place on the Trenton City Council," U.S. Sen. Cory Booker said in a written statement. "The sentiments she expressed are contrary to our values as New Jerseyans and as Americans. The people of Trenton deserve better, which is why I am calling on Councilwoman Vaughn to step down immediately."
New Jersey Democrat State Committee chairman John Currie asked her to quit.
State Sen. Shirley Turner, Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson and Assemblyman Anthony S. Verrelli, all Democrats, issued a joint written statement critical of Gusciora, Vaughn and Councilman Joseph Harrison, who had tried to get the council president to restore order over the meeting.
"The negative comments made towards Councilwoman Vaughn by Mayor Gusciora and Councilman Harrison are also unacceptable. At a time when all parties should be focused on civility and solving issues to help move the City of Trenton forward, elected officials should not be displaying such deplorable behavior," the legislators said.
Vaughn has not addressed the matter on her Facebook page or issued a statement. As of Tuesday morning, she had not respond to New Jersey 101.5's request for comment.
The City Council has a conference session scheduled for Tuesday and a regular meeting on Thursday via conference call.