Black GOP Senate candidate apologizes for ‘accidentally’ showing swastika in campaign ad

John James
Michigan GOP U.S. Senate candidate John James (left) campaigns with the help of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) (right) at Senor Lopez Restaurant (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

Republican U.S. Senate candidate John James is full of apologies after he made a “terrible error” and unintentionally showed what appears to be a swastika in his first campaign ad of the general election in Michigan.

Monday night, James addressed the issue at an impromptu press conference after a debate against incumbent Democrat Debbie Stabenow.

“I need to fess up and admit this was a terrible error on our part,” he said at his campaign headquarters, according to the Associated Press.

“We should have caught this error, and we didn’t – and there’s no excuse. I’m responsible for everything that our team does and fails to do. And I will do everything in my power to make sure this never, ever happens again.”

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The campaign ad, which began airing on television two weeks ago, includes brief footage of an empty school hallway as James talks off-screen about the state’s failing schools. In the shot, a bulletin board full of flyers appears to show one with a printed swastika symbol.

James explained the footage came from stock footage, but the ad has since been pulled from YouTube, but is still being shared on social media (peep the five second mark.)

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Progress Michigan, a liberal advocacy group, called out the image on Monday. Lonnie Scott, the executive director of the organization, says expecting a Senate candidate to not include symbols of genocide in political ads is an incredibly low bar that James couldn’t manage to meet.

“His team is either too lazy to spot check their ads, or they’re willfully pushing out this type of imagery,” he told the AP. “Either way, it’s a problem and shows James’ lack of preparedness for the United States Senate.”

Even though the footage showing a swastika was an unintentional oversight made by his team, during the press conference, James made no excuses and took full responsibility.

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“I was taught by excellent leaders – the best of which being my mom and dad – to do the right thing even when it’s hard,” he said.

“It’s my responsibility to stand and denounce hatred and bigotry and take responsibility for that error and omission,” James continued.