Kansas GOP batter Biden effigy at fundraiser

Kansas Republicans have condemned a fundraiser Friday where attendees paid to kick and beat an effigy of President Joe Biden. Some called for the Kansas GOP chairman to step down.


State News

March 11, 2024 - 2:19 PM

Kansas Republicans have called for the resignation of state GOP chairman Mike Brown, seen at the state GOP convention in February 2023. Photo by Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector

TOPEKA — Kansas Republicans have condemned a fundraiser Friday night where attendees paid to kick and beat an effigy of President Joe Biden, distancing themselves from extremists who have seized control of the party.

The Biden-bashing antics were part of a Kansas GOP event in Johnson County, where rocker Ted Nugent and disgraced former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline were the main attractions.

A video posted by “MolonLabeTruth” to the far-right social media platform Rumble shows “highlights” from the event, which also included karate chops to blocks that read “Let’s Go, Brandon,” code for a profane insult of Biden. The video, which has now been unpublished, shows several people at the event attempting a roundhouse kick to a mannequin bust with a Biden mask and “Let’s Go, Brandon” T-shirt. Another woman is seen beating the president’s face with a foam bat.

Kansas GOP chairman Mike Brown, an election denier who narrowly won the leadership position a year ago, touted the fundraiser event for weeks in official GOP emails — with no mention of the Biden effigy. General admission tickets were listed at $100, with premier seats for $300.

Brown didn’t respond to an email seeking comment for this story.

On Saturday, former GOP chairman Mike Kuckelman condemned the Biden bashing in a post on Kuckelman’s personal Facebook page. Other Republicans joined him in comments on the post.

Kuckelman said guests at the event were invited to beat the Biden effigy in exchange for a donation. He called for the resignations of Brown and Johnson County Republican Party chairwoman Maria Holiday.

“This conduct is shameful, and it is WRONG. Brown and Holiday must resign,” Kuckelman wrote. “Republicans, especially elected Republicans, must demand the resignations of Brown and Holiday. Silence is complicity in this case.”

Kuckelman said Republicans “rightfully demanded” that Kathy Griffin be canceled after a photo emerged with her holding a bloody, severed replica of then-President Donald Trump’s head. Republicans “must speak equally as loudly” about the bashing of Biden’s effigy, Kuckelman wrote.

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

John Altevogt, a conservative social media commentator, said the event shows how far the party’s leadership has drifted from mainstream politics. He described Brown’s supporters as QAnon and white supremacists who have “no place in legitimate Republican political discourse.”

“What should become brazenly obvious from this post is the wide range of Republicans who are disgusted by this behavior,” Altevogt wrote in a comment on Kuckelman’s post. “There are Trump people here and Principles First people here. And yet, here we are, joined together to rid the party of this embarrassing scourge.”

Former state Sen. Michael O’Donnell called the event “sad.”

Others described it as “disturbing,” “disgusting,” “shocking,” “enraging,” and “despicable.” Several people said they were lifelong Republicans who were considering leaving the party.

Julie Roller Weeks, vice chairwoman of the Dickinson County Republicans, wrote: “We fight with our votes, NOT fists and bats. This is disgraceful!”