'Execution' comment over immigrants was joke: council hopeful
An Antrim council candidate has said his comments were "tongue in cheek" after writing on social media that he would "apply for the job as executioner" if Donald Trump began killing immigrants.
Si Harvey is standing for the Democrats and Veterans Party in the Carrick Castle ward for Mid and East Antrim District Council.
During a 2017 Facebook discussion, when asked if he was calling Adolf Hitler or Trump a "legend", he replied "in a funny way both".
Mr Harvey told the Irish News his comments were a "bit of a joke" and part of "sticking up for Donald Trump".
Alliance candidate Lauren Gray said the comments were "deeply offensive" and that they would "horrify" many people in Carrickfergus.
During the Facebook discussion Mr Harvey was asked: "Would you still support Trump if immigrant executions start?".
"100%. I'd apply for the job as executioner," he replied.
The discussion centred around a German magazine cover that showed President Trump draped in a US flag and giving a Nazi salute.
Mr Harvey told the Irish News he was not racist and did not support Hitler. He said the remarks were "a wind-up", though he did believe immigration should be limited.
He said that it was "ridiculous to compare Hitler with Trump".
"All I was doing was sticking up for Donald Trump," the veteran said. "I would 100% support Donald Trump. I think he has done an unbelievably fantastic job in America."
Mr Harvey said his execution comments were "tongue in cheek".
"Obviously it's not going to happen anyway because it wouldn't come to executions," he said.
He added he "hated" Hitler and that he "was awful".
"I'm a veteran. Why would I want to support Hitler?" Mr Harvey said.
Ms Gray described the comments as "not remotely funny in any way, shape or form, and have no place in our society".
"Instead of Mr Harvey claiming these posts are a misguided attempt at humour, he needs to take a long, hard look at himself and apologise unreservedly for them," she added.
"Such prejudiced views are not welcome in Carrick, or indeed anywhere else.
"I'm sure voters will make up their own minds after seeing them."