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'Nazis' spray-painted on NH GOP headquarters in Concord

New Hampshire Union Leader

August 17. 2017 11:53AM
Vandals spray-painted the word 'Nazis' on the headquarters of the New Hampshire GOP overnight. Work had begun to remove the graffiti Thursday morning. (Doug Alden/New Hampshire Union Leader)

CONCORD — Vandals struck the headquarters of the New Hampshire Republican Party overnight Wednesday, spray-painting the word “Nazis” surrounded by a heart, and throwing a rock through an office window.

Staff arriving for work at the 10 Water St. office Thursday morning immediately called police.

Lt. Sean Ford said detectives consider it an act of criminal mischief.

“The connotation brings up nothing but hatred. We really have no tolerance for this,” Ford said. “It seems to indicate some kind of political targeting, but we won’t know until we find out who did it.”

State GOP Chairman Jeanie Forrester said she didn’t know whether the vandalism was prompted by the violence last weekend during a white separatist rally in Virginia or the public outrage at President Donald Trump’s responses.

“I can’t get into the head of the person who did this,” Forrester said. “The violence and vandalism is just not acceptable behavior. We need to be talking to everybody and understanding we can agree to disagree on issues.”

In a statement, Gov. Chris Sununu, a first-term Republican, said, “It is certainly disturbing and very sad to see vandalism with such hateful rhetoric. There is no place for that in our politics or society.”

Rabbi Robin Nafshi is starting her eighth year as the religious leader of Temple Beth Jacob in Concord.

“I don’t think it’s a prank. I think it’s a deeply misguided expression of emotion and anger, a blaming of a political party because of the President’s lack of moral leadership in speaking out concerning the events of Charlottesville,” Rabbi Nafshi said. “I don’t know a soul that would equate the American Republican Party with Nazis. Obviously this is a horrific act and whoever did it should be found and appropriately brought to justice.”

The fallout from Trump’s response to the violence in Charlottesville continued to escalate Thursday with another round of angry tweets from the President. Trump has been widely criticized by members of his own party, the public and corporate leaders for failing to condemn the white separatists involved in last Saturday’s rally, in which one woman died.

Whatever message the vandals intended, New Hampshire Democratic Chairman Ray Buckley said the act was unacceptable.

“It’s inexcusable and it’s wrong,” Buckley said in a news release. “The New Hampshire Democratic Party wholly condemns this criminal action and hopes the perpetrator is held accountable. There is no place for that in our politics.”

Ford asked anyone with information or potential leads in the investigation to call the police department at (603) 225-8600 or Concord Regional Crimeline at 226-3100.

Patrick Hynes, senior advisor to the state GOP, said the headquarters has been targeted before by politically motivated vandalism; the party plans to enhance security coverage in the rear of the building where the latest incident occurred.

“Obviously the people who are vandalizing the state headquarters with malicious smears are fringe elements and don’t represent anything close to the majority point of view,” he said.

Union Leader Reporter Kevin Landrigan contributed to this report.

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