Atlantic County Freeholder John Carman apologized Thursday for a Facebook post that angered constituents during the Women’s March on Washington.
Carman posted a meme Saturday asking, “Will the woman’s protest be over in time for them to cook dinner?” and refused to apologize in the days after, including at a Tuesday freeholder meeting in which he was criticized by 30 members of the public.
But Thursday, he reversed his position.
“It is obvious to me that I have hurt many people, men and women, with my insensitive post. For this, I am truly sorry,” Carman, a Republican, said in a statement. “Believe me, this was a lesson well learned. Please judge me by my words and my actions going forward. Again, my sincere apology to those that were offended.”
Atlantic County Democratic Vice Chairwoman Mary Slomine said in a statement Thursday that county women will have the final say about Carman’s remarks come Election Day.
“There’s a big difference between doing the right thing and being shamed into doing the right thing,” Slomine’s statement said. “While we are glad that Freeholder Carman finally apologized, let’s not kid ourselves: He did this kicking and screaming.”
More than 30 people — mostly women — came to a freeholder meeting Tuesday to confront Carman. One woman held up a box of macaroni and cheese and told Carman to “cook your own damn dinner.”
Carman, who is up for re-election, said Thursday in an interview with The Press of Atlantic City he initially intended to apologize when he addressed the crowd Tuesday.
At that meeting, Carman responded saying he was happy to have strong women in his life, and they looked at the post and weren’t offended.
Several members of the public then stood up and left.
Carman said he realizes he should have said more at the meeting Tuesday, but frustration got in the way.
Several local politicians and officials have made statements about Carman’s post.
Across the country, mostly male public officials have been called out for social media posts referring to women’s marches Saturday.
Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson, who had said Carman should apologize, said the incident was an unfortunate “aberration” from what he knows about the freeholder. The remark was insensitive, he said, but he’s glad the freeholder “did the right thing.”
Assemblyman Chris Brown, R-Atlantic, had called on Carman to apologize for the post Wednesday.
“I’m glad John did the right thing and sincerely apologized for his mistake,” Brown said in a statement.
At the meeting Tuesday, some Carman supporters discussed how the public should toughen up or accept the post as a joke and move on.
“It’s not about the amount of mistakes or the size of mistakes a person makes. It’s how a person responds to them,” Carman also said in his written statement. “I made an error in judgment with a meme I thought was amusing and harmless. I was wrong.”