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Fiore, through state GOP, denies making ‘racially charged’ remarks after rebuke by county party

Updated June 9, 2020 - 8:57 am

Las Vegas City Councilwoman Michele Fiore was rebuked by the Clark County Republican Party on Monday for “racially charged” comments it says she made during the party’s convention Saturday.

Fiore did not immediately respond to a voicemail or text message sent Monday evening, but the state GOP’s top executive said Fiore denied making the comments.

“Ms. Fiore’s remarks were clearly inappropriate and ran counter to the thoughtful remarks of every other speaker and counter to the beliefs of the Clark County Republican Party,” the county party said in a statement.

Richard MacLean, the party’s chief of staff, said by phone late Monday that he estimated the party has received more than 100 calls regarding the comments, including from Republicans who were in attendance, and GOP lawmakers who were not, to express their dismay.

According to MacLean, who did not hear the comments firsthand, the narrative reported to him in the phone calls he received was similar: Fiore’s pro-law enforcement remarks turned to opposition to affirmative action, which then led her to raise a hypothetical scenario, and use an expletive, in which she lost her job to a black person.

MacLean said he also heard, through the dozens of phone calls, that Fiore had said “white lives matter,” at which point it was described to him that “you could hear a pin drop” in the room.

The state party said it would launch an inquiry.

“The Chairman and myself were not in the room when Las Vegas Mayor Pro Tem and Nevada GOP National Committeewoman Michele Fiore spoke to the Clark County Convention,” state GOP Executive Director Jessica Hanson said in a statement. “Michele denies making these remarks and we have launched an investigation to find out what happened over the weekend.”

MacLean said the party did not record the convention, held with roughly 400 attendees at the Ahern Hotel and Convention Center, but there might be video of the event taken by individuals on cellphones.

The stern reprimand comes as the county party seeks to distance itself from the comments “in an otherwise overwhelmingly positive event,” according to the statement issued Monday, saying it regretted her remarks as “irresponsible, insensitive and inaccurate” as it called upon Fiore to issue an apology to attendees and the community at large. It also comes at a time when protests are being held nationwide, including in Las Vegas, to condemn police brutality and systemic racism in response to the killing of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody.

Fiore was one of multiple community leaders invited to speak during the convention, which also offered a stage to political candidates, according to MacLean.

Contact Shea Johnson at sjohnson@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0272. Follow @Shea_LVRJ on Twitter.

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