Yesterday morning, April 18, 2020, Bill Kirby, mayor of Auburn, CA, a city of about 13,000 residents located about 33 miles northeast of the state capital Sacramento, was killed in a small plane crash near Auburn Airport.
Five days before, on Monday, April 13, Kirby announced he would resign as mayor after outrage erupted over his comments on Facebook calling Trump supporters members of the racist Klu Klux Klan. In a Facebook post, Kirby shared a photo of a Ku Klux Klan hood, with the caption:
Good news for Trump supporters is that most of them already have masks.
The post was later taken down, but not before it had gone viral.
During a Zoom virtual city council meeting on Monday, which was broadcast live on YouTube, while admitting that some of his recent Facebook posts were over the top, Kirby tried to justify his demonization of Trump supporters.
A physician by occupation, Kirby said that he was frustrated as a doctor because he put his life on the line against an invisible enemy, the Wuhan virus, but without the proper PPE (personal protective equipment like face masks) and testing capabilities. Blaming President Trump, Kirby said Trump “has put us all at risk,” never mind the fact that if it were not for Trump’s January 31 travel ban on China — for which Trump was called racist — the toll of COVID-19 would have been much, much worse. See:
- AP’s fact-check shows Democrats lied about Trump administration’s coronavirus readiness
- “What President Trump is doing about the coronavirus epidemic”
In a fit of self-pity, Kirby said: “I spent 40 years dedicating my life to serving the community of Auburn as a physician and through my volunteer efforts. Am I perfect? No. We’re all a little flawed.”
He concluded his statement by saying he would resign as mayor at the next council meeting on April 27, but that he had always intended to resign before his term expires in November.
City Councilwoman Cheryl Maki noted that Kirby had not really apologized. Maki said: “And this is how I feel: I abhor the things that he has said and done and I did not hear an apology from him tonight. I think it would be appropriate if you would hand the gavel over to Vice Mayor Spokely this evening and let him run the meeting.”
“No,” responded Kirby.
During the meeting, the city council and the public heard a string of voicemails that the council had received from residents infuriated by Kirby’s Facebook posts. As examples, one voicemail said Kirby’s “comments are hateful, degrading, bigoted and more consistent with the mentality of a 15-year-old,” while another said, “It is extremely disappointing and I believe that he should be removed.”
One voice mail, however, defended Kirby: “I just wanted to call in support of Dr. Kirby. I completely, 100% agree with his assessment of the president.”