FOP-endorsed council candidate in District 11 says he say is not racist

Fraternal Order of Police endorsed council candidate Rock Daniels recently said he is not racist after a Chinese American council candidate denounced a whisper campaign Daniels had been spearheading.

Wu wrote the following in a recent Herald-Leader column responding to the allegations.

I am not a communist.

In my 48 years of life, 40 of them spent living in the United States, I never thought I had to utter these words. But now, as a candidate for Lexington Urban County Council at Large, I find myself in the surreal, frustrating, though perhaps not wholly unexpected position of defending myself against a charge as absurd as it is desperate.

Not long after my stronger-than-expected finish in May’s primary, someone dug through almost 10 years of my public Facebook photos and found two to use in a whisper campaign. The first is a picture of me from seven years ago in a military surplus store standing in front of the flag of the former Soviet Union. I was wearing a t-shirt featuring a cat saying “Lying,” from one of my favorite graphics novels, Saga. I had never seen a Soviet flag in real life and the juxtaposition of the flag with my shirt was just the ironic combination I wanted for a silly picture.

Dan Wu, Herald-Leader, 9/21

Daniels has been pushing the Wu-communism yarn since mid-summer, at least. In August he sent The Lexington Times the allegedly racist and xenophobic photos mentioned in Wu’s column. He was very insistent that it was off the record at the time, but now that he has gone public with his allegations, it seems appropriate to out him as one of the actors who originated the campaign.

Daniels also appeared on MAGA podcast The Tom Dupree Show in August where he referenced the photos, but did not specifically name Wu. Just before introducing Daniels, the outspoken MAGA supporting host concluded an emotional diatribe where he waxed poetic about how Confederate Statues being removed hurt his feelings. It’s not clear if Rock just didn’t hear that part or if he was okay with it.

I spoke with Daniels about this prior to his FOP endorsement and he doubled down on everything he said in the Herlad-Leader.

Rock Daniels, a council candidate whose father is from Pakistan and immigrated to the U.S. in 1967, said he finds the photos offensive. Wu should not be saluting in front of a former Soviet flag, he said.
“As an Asian American, it disgusts me,” Daniels said. It’s also not racist, Daniels said. People would also raise questions if Gorton or any other white council member was in a photo saluting in front of a Swastika or a Rebel flag. “It’s not a joke and it’s not funny,” Daniels said. Daniels spoke on a radio program in late August about the photos of Wu but did not mention Wu by name.

Herald Leader, 9/21

Our Take

Daniels is clearly not ready to be on the Urban County Council. We had our doubts about him before, but this is simply the straw the broke the camel’s back. The 11th District is very diverse and Rock is simply not equipped to represent that constituency if he doesn’t understand how what he said is problematic.

Additionally, his opponent, incumbent Jennifer Reynolds, a bilingual former business owner, distributes all information in both Spanish and English. She is the clear choice for the 11th District.