Kansas Republicans pay to take turns hitting and kicking effigy of Joe Biden

Video from the event has drawn criticism from both Democrats and Republicans

Dan Gooding
Monday 11 March 2024 20:29 GMT
Kansas Republican Party hosted a fundraiser where attendees could donate to assault a President Biden effigy
Kansas Republican Party hosted a fundraiser where attendees could donate to assault a President Biden effigy (Sourced)

People at a Republican Party event in Kansas on Friday were seen punching and kicking an effigy of President Joe Biden, with one attendee even using a baseball bat to hit the figure.

Photos and video shared online showed a mannequin with a President Biden mask on, being hit by multiple people at the event organised by the Johnson County Republican Party.

Attendees were reportedly encouraged to make a donation to the party before being allowed to attack the figure.

The footage, initially released on the social media platform Rumble but now deleted, has received widespread condemnation from both sides of the aisle, including from the former chair of the Kansas Republican Party, Mike Kuckelman.

“This conduct is shameful, and it is WRONG,” Mr Kuckelman posted on Facebook, while calling for the resignations of the local GOP chairperson Maria Hayden and Kansas party chair Mike Brown.

“Fellow Republicans, let’s not forget our outrage when Kathy Griffin engaged in similar shameful conduct against President Trump,” Mr Kuckelman continued. “We rightfully demanded she be cancelled. Please, we must speak equally as loudly in our opposition now.

“I don’t agree with President Biden’s policies, but he is a fellow human being. No one should condone or defend this horrific and shameful conduct.”

The Kansas State GOP told The Independent that the booth with the mannequin was set up by an outside exhibitor, adding that they did not agree with Mr Kuckelman’s comments.

“A disgruntled former member of the state party, who did not attend the event, saw an opportunity to capitalize on the poor judgement of the outside exhibitor,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “No one from KSGOP leadership or staff attended the event or had input on exhibitors.

“It’s unfortunate the events took place, and even more so the former state party member created a false narrative in order to spew rhetoric and capitalize on continued attempts to divide the party.

“The internal fighting and false narratives within the Republican Party risk 2024 election outcomes in Kansas and across America and they must end.”

The Independent also approached Johnson County Republican Party, but did not receive a response before publishing.

Mr Kuckelman also raised questions about what Johnson County Sheriff Calvin Hayden’s response was, as he was reportedly at the event.

JCSO said it had nothing to add, following a request for comment.

The footage also saw condemnation from Democrats, including Kansas Senate Minority Leader Dinah Sykes, who told The Kansas City Star that Republicans in the state legislature needed to call out the behaviour.

“Political violence of any kind is vile and wrong, and we cannot afford to brush it under the rug when others encourage it,” Ms Sykes told the outlet. “The focus now has to be on Republican leadership of the Kansas Senate and House.

“If my colleagues in the Legislature agree that this conduct is shameful and dangerous, they cannot turn a blind eye to this behaviour. Their silence is consent.”

On social media, one user said they were glad to have de-registered as a member of the local Republican party, while others equated the stunt to “political violence”.

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