A former GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts, Gabriel Gomez, made the incendiary statement in a Facebook comment:

I thank God everyday for people like Chris Pinto and Rob Eno because they serve as perfect examples for my kids of who and what not to be when they grow up… the level of ignorance and intolerance exhibited by them and their small “Klan” are an embarassment to our civil Society. Merry Christmas.

This morning on a Boston Herald talk radio show, Gomez confirmed that he wrote the controversial comment. Full audio of the interview is here; here’s a partial transcript of his remarks:

These are the kind of people that you know make the Republican Party hated in Massachusetts … You know, I don’t have any regrets [about] what I posted. I mean obviously I touched a chord with them because they know I’m right but I’ve obviously had so many people reaching out thanking me for it, because like I said these guys represent less than 21% but they’re loud and somebody had to make a  point of just highlighting that they’re really nothing but destructive for our party here in Massachusetts.

Gomez denied that he had referred to the Ku Klux Klan and said that any such interpretation is “ridiculous.” He also accused his opponents (presumably including Eno) of twisting his words. Partial transcript:

Interviewer: …I have to ask, suggesting that they are part of the Ku Klux Klan is pretty strong on your part.

Gomez: Well, I, you know, I wasn’t suggesting they are part of the Ku Klux Klan. I mean…

Interviewer: Well what was the “k”?

Gomez: Well, I mean you can go “k” or “c.” It’s basically like [inaudible] friends and family.

Interviewer: The only “k” thing is the Ku Klux Klan. I’m sorry to do this, but it really is true. So do you regret going that far with it?

Gomez: I don’t regret putting the post on there, no. [Inaudible.]

Interviewer: Was, is there a  different Klan you were referring to?

Gomez: Obviously, I wasn’t thinking of the Ku Klux Klan. That’s ridiculous. [Crosstalk.]  They can, they can try to twist and try to infer whatever they want…

According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, “Klan” means “an organization of Ku Kluxers; also: a subordinate unit of such an organization.”

According to dictionary.com, “Klan” means either “the Ku Klux Klan” or “a chapter of the Ku Klux Klan.”

Rob Eno urged his fellow Republicans to support Gomez back in April, after the GOP primary:

Red Mass Group is calling this race for Gabriel Gomez.  With 20% reporting, the next closest candidate Michael Sullivan will not be able to make up the ground.  Gomez is winning by over 50% in many towns that have reported 100%.

Congratulations to Gabriel Gomez. It is in now important for GOP activists to rally behind our nominee to defeat Ed. Markey.

Eno later was critical of Gomez on Second Amendment issues:

In this tweet, he linked to a post calling Gomez “a soulless, opportunistic Democrat in RINO (Republican In Name Only) clothing who is unworthy of being a member of the GOP in Massachusetts”:

According to Eno, Pinto “was a dedicated supporter of Mr. Gomez’s during the campaign, spending his time driving around Worcester County to put up signs, and making hundreds of phone calls.”

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Update: Gomez has posted an apology to his Facebook page.

Dear friends,

I’ve always said that leaders should admit when they are wrong. That starts with me.

Over the weekend, I regrettably used inappropriate language to share my disagreement with some with whom I disagree on specific social and policy-related issues.

While attempting to speak out against those who question the commitment of fellow Republicans, I used careless language in charact…erizing their views that clouded the point I was trying to make. I was wrong to do so, and I apologize to Rob Eno and to Chris Pinto.

Leaders have a responsibility to share their views in a respectful way. In this instance, as someone who understands the slings and arrows of political life, I failed to live up to the standard of discourse every leader should strive for.