HONOLULU — The chairman of the Hawaii Republican Party has taken the unusual step of disavowing the GOP candidate in the 2nd Congressional District due to her disparaging remarks about the ethnicity and religion of other candidates.
Angela Kaaihue, who won the Republican nomination for the 2nd Congressional District (rural Oahu and the other islands) in the Aug. 13 primary, is running against Democratic incumbent Tulsi Gabbard, the first practicing Hindu American in Congress.
Fritz Rohlfing said in a statement on Aug. 19, “As chairman of the Hawaii Republican Party, I want it understood by the general public and the media that the recent inflammatory comments made by candidate for Congress (CD2) Angela Kaaihue do not represent the views, values, or the sentiments of our party and its members. Her vulgar, racially bigoted, and religiously intolerant descriptions of Democratic Party candidates are offensive, shameful, and unacceptable in public discourse.
“I unconditionally denounce her despicable statements. I strongly urge all Hawaii Republicans to join me in disavowing her candidacy.”
Kaaihue responded that Rolfing was “guilty for not standing up for God.”
Kaaihue, who describes herself as “an aspiring Hawaii real estate developer,” was previously criticized for campaign signs proclaiming that she is “healthy” and “cancer-free” when she was running in the 1st Congressional District (City and County of Honolulu). At the time, the Democratic incumbent, Mark Takai, was suffering from pancreatic cancer. He decided not to seek re-election and died in July.
As a candidate in the 2nd Congressional District, Kaaihue posted a press release last week targeting Gabbard, former Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who is running for Takai’s seat, and Gov. David Ige and referring to a lawsuit in which she says the Newtown Estates Community Association in Aiea is preventing her from building a home for her family.
The release reads, in part: “This is an evil Democratic state: Republicans always lose! I’ll drop out of this congressional race if my neighbor Gov. Ige and his Japanese constituents would leave our Waimalu lands alone and settle this lawsuit. Then Hawaii, you can have you so-called ‘perfect’ pathetic Hindu 1000 gods leader along with your pathetic ‘career politician’ Buddhist Hanabusa, and your pathetic American Traitor, and my family and I will go our merrily way …
“Unless I see a huge turn-around or a significant sign from God, I ask myself why should I put myself and my family through this grueling uphill battle ugly road for the next 3 months? Who am I to be your messenger and to stand up for God and to convince unrepentant, unforgiven, unappreciative sinners, and to ask God for their forgiveness?…
“Go vote for you Hindu and your Budda [sic] leaders, I’ll drop out Tulsi and Colleen, and I’ll stop mudslinging your campaign. Just have Gov. Ige, my neighbors leave our lands alone and compensate me for my losses.”
In an online rant filled with profanity and ethnic slurs, Kaaihue said of Japanese people, “You are conspirators, stealers, you steal from my keikis [children] … You belong in prison, I will change the situation around, and put the Hawaiians and the Haoles in your house, in your car, in your private schools … I will give the Hawaiians and the Haoles jobs as judges, prosecutors, and police officers, and put the Japs in jail, and f—in internment camps where you f—ing belong …”
She also posted a graphic of a Japanese flag with a diagonal line across it and the following text: “Every time this flag’s unfurled they conquered America!! Budda + Hindu = Harlot. All of Hawaii’s ‘top-gun’ leaders are non-Christians! This is outrage! It’s time to take a stand for God! #takebackhawaii.”
In an interview with Hawaii News Now, Kaaihue walked back some of her remarks, slightly: “I truly regret posting that about Japanese people. I don’t think all Japanese people are bad, I just think that [of] the non-Christian Japanese people.”