Two House Republicans resign leadership positions in wake of derogatory comments

Published May 25, 2023

By Greg Childress

North Carolina House Republicans Jeff McNeely and Keith Kidwell have resigned leadership positions within their caucus in the wake of controversial statements each representative made last week.

The resignations were first reported by Raleigh’s News & Observer. Republican House Majority Leader John Bell announced the resignations during a House session Thursday morning, the paper reported.

McNeely and Kidwell, who held whip positions in the House Republican Caucus, came under fire last week after making inappropriate statements on the House floor.

Bell could not be reached for comment on Thursday. Neither Kidwell nor McNeely returned Newsline’s calls before this story was published.

Rep. Keith Kidwell (R-Beaufort Co.) Photo: video stream


McNeely, a white Republican from Iredell County, asked Rep. Abe Jones, a Wake County Democrat who is Black, if being a minority and an athlete helped him to get into Harvard University. The remarks came during a discussion about a GOP-backed bill to expand the state’s school voucher program to allow wealthy families access.

McNeely’s remarks were widely viewed and criticized as racist. He later apologized to Jones, who accepted the apology but condemned the remarks as racist.

Meanwhile, Kidwell, a Republican from Beaufort County, was overheard making disparaging remarks about Rep. Diamond Stanton-Williams while she discussed her decision to have an abortion. Stanton-Williams noted that she grew up in church.

Kidwell told nearby staffers that Staton-Williams must have meant the “Church of Satan.” Those remarks, first reported by WRAL, came during a House discussion to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of a bill to tighten abortion restrictions.