Mark Salvas was hired last month to be the executive director of the local Democratic party in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, and just weeks later is resigning due to old social media posts from him and his wife that have drawn negative attention. Salvas maintains that he’s not sorry for what he put on Facebook, however, and claims he is only resigning because he was asked to leave.
Salvas’ Facebook post from last year included an image of him and his wife, with the message, “I stand for the flag, I kneel at the cross,” a reference to NFL players who took up the practice of kneeling during the National Anthem before games as a form of protest.
A Marine veteran, Salvas is not sorry for what he said. In an interview with local KDKA, he repeated the message and said he has a right to speak his mind and express his patriotism.
“I’m not ashamed of my patriotism, not one bit. I fought for this country. I think I have a right to have a voice and be patriotic.”
Likewise, he doesn’t begrudge athletes who express themselves by kneeling.
“That’s part of what the flag stands for. It gives them the right to do that,” he said.
While he stands by his comment, he agreed to step down from his position after the head of the party asked him to do so.
“I was asked by the chair of the Allegheny County Democratic Party to resign my position due to the controversy that was taking place on social media, and I did,” Salvas said.
The other social media post that drew attention was from Salvas’ wife. She expressed support for the family of their friend Michael Rosfeld, a police officer accused of killing Antwan Rose II, a black teenage motorist, earlier this year. Rosfeld awaits a trial for Rose’s death. Mark Salvas defended his wife’s message.
“What happened to Antwon Rose was a tragedy. I don’t think anybody doubts that. I think we can all agree on that. A young man lost his life and that’s a shame,” he said. “Officer Rosfeld, Michael Rosfeld, is as close to me and my family as anyone could be.” He justified the support, saying, “They have been there for us in hard times, and my wife and I felt it was necessary to be there for them because family backs family.”
Still, Democratic leaders, including State Rep. Ed Gainey didn’t think it was a smart decision to express that support.
“If you’re going to be executive director of the Democratic Party, you have to be sensitive to things like that.” Gainey said.
Despite the fallout, Salvas defends his words and beliefs. When asked if he had any apologies for his post, his answer was simple.
“Not at all. Not at all.”
[Image via KDKA screengrab]