Illinois lottery official resigns after calling East St. Louis a certain vulgar name

 
By Fred Barbash
The Washington Post
Updated 2/1/2018 3:39 PM
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The chairman of Illinois's Lottery Control Board and a member of the state's Republican Central Committee has resigned both positions after taking heavy criticism for describing East. St. Louis, Illinois, as the "(expletive) of the universe!"

Blair Garber deployed the term on Twitter in response to a tweet by country singer Charlie Daniels, who was defending Trump's vulgar reference to Haiti and African countries and criticizing Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, for taking offense.

"Mr. Durbin," Daniels tweeted, "I'm so sorry that your virgin ears were blistered by the absolutely horrible language president Trump used in front of you. The president actually thought he was addressing a meeting of members of congress, not a kindergarten class ..."

Daniels' tweet provoked a swell of approving comments, one of them from Garber, according to the State Journal-Register, which broke the story.

"Charlie," Garber wrote, Durbin's hometown is (get this) east St. Louis Illinois! The (expletive) of the universe! Just do a Google search."

Garber's tweet is no longer available.

On Wednesday, a spokeswoman for Illinois Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner said he had accepted Garber's resignation from the lottery board, along with an apology, the Journal-Register and other news outlets reported. He also resigned from the Republican State Central Committee, according to CBS Chicago.

"It was an unfortunate choice of words, and I'm sorry for any consternation it caused," Garber told WBBM. Garber is from the prosperous city of Evanston, just north of Chicago, according to CBS Chicago. He has described himself as a Trump admirer.

East St. Louis, a city of about 32,000 just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Mo., is a predominantly African American community where roughly 44 percent of the population lives below the poverty level. Once a thriving industrial town, it began a downward economic spiral in the 1960s as businesses and residents exited and unemployment skyrocketed.

East St. Louis has been trying to make a comeback ever since, with modest success.

In addition to being Durbin's birthplace, East St. Louis has been home to singer Tina Turner, jazz great Miles Davis, tennis champion Jimmy Connors and Olympic Gold medalist Jackie-Joyner Kersee.

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