A top-ranking official of the Democratic Party of Orange County with a history of courting controversy has ignited a firestorm over a social media post in which he praised Ho Chi Minh, the Communist founder of North Vietnam, for defeating the “imperial” United States in the Vietnam War:
So, in LeTourneau’s telling, Ho Chi Minh overcomes his social awkwardness by imposing a totalitarian regime on the people of North Vietnam, and then kills millions – including nearly 60,000 Americans – in a bloody, cruel war of conquest to incorporate the unwilling South Vietnamese into his Communist prison state. Not exactly an ABC After School Special storyline.
LeTourneau told the OC Register he was using Ho as an example of “someone who doesn’t have money or social standing can still affect change.” Right. Maybe Gandhi or Greta Thunberg would have been a better examples than a totalitarian tyrant.
The negative response was massive and swift, and LeTourneau deleted the post 90 minutes later and posted this non-apology apology:
Notice LeTourneau did not apologize for what he said. He did not apologize for falsely portraying Ho as a liberator, the United States as an imperialist power and lauding Communist conquest of South Vietnam as some kind of anti-colonialist victory. It is a sickness of the progressive Left that they romanticize Communist thugs like Ho and Fidel Castro and Che Guevara.
LeTourneau only apologized for upsetting Vietnamese-Americans across the spectrum. Praising the man ultimately responsible subjecting his country to a needless death and suffering, herding hundreds of thousands of South Vietnamese into Communist gulags and driving hundreds of thousands more to flee in rickety boats and take their chances at sea – yeah, that could be considered “insensitive.”
It’s worth noting LeTourneau’s non-apology makes no mention of the 2.7 million Americans who served in Vietnam – especially the more than 58,000 killed and 304,000 wounded fighting to defend the South Vietnamese from conquest by Ho’s regime. Not to mention the families of those wounded and fallen.
OC Democratic leaders, including OC Democratic Party Chair Ada Briceno and Congressmembers Harley Rouda and Lou Correa, have called on LeTourneau to resign his position as DPOC Vice Chair for North Orange County.
“I’m here to condemn DPOC Vice Chair Jeff LeTourneau’s disgusting glorification and praise of Hi Chi Minh, a brutal Communist dictator,” said Rouda at the press conference. “I’m here to put country over party and demand Mr. LeTourneau’s removal.”
The OC Register reports the DPOC issued a statement; however, the party is observing radio silence on the issue on its social media. Garden Grove Councilmembers Deirdre Nguyen and Kim Nguyen also assailed LeTourneau’s post and called for his resignation as party vice chair.
Deidre Nguyen sent a letter to the DPOC calling for his removal:
“I am appalled at Mr. Jeff LeTourneau’s ignorance of the legacy of evil Ho Chi Minh carried out against the Vietnamese people. Holding him out as an example of someone to emulate is an inexcusable insult to the vibrant and staunchly anti-communist Vietnamese-American community here in Orange County.
“My father fought alongside U.S. servicemen against the communists in Vietnam. When Saigon fell, he was imprisoned for eight long years of hard labor. My Mom and I were both jailed for attempting to flee the communist regime. She was sent ot prison for three years. I was locked in isolation for two months. I was 7-years old.”
Republican Janet Nguyen, the former state senator and county supervisor who escaped Vietnam as a refugee, moved quickly to condmen LeTourneau’s praise for the Vietnamese Communist dictator:
For a leader of the Democratic Party to praise communist Ho and label America’s military as imperialist is both highly offensive and historically wrong.
— Janet Nguyen (@JanetNguyenCA) September 1, 2020
My father fought against Ho Chi Minh’s communist forces and my uncle was murdered by Ho Chi Minh’s violent thugs. Many Vietnamese Americans have direct relatives who gave their lives fighting for freedom and democracy against Ho Chi Minh.
— Janet Nguyen (@JanetNguyenCA) September 1, 2020
GOP Supervisor Michelle Steel, who is running against Rouda in CA-48, blasted LeTourneau:
.@DPOC Vice Chair Jeff LeTourneau’s comments praising Ho Chi Minh are repugnant. Thousands of Vietnamese refugees who were forced to flee their homeland live right here in Orange County and still harbor real memories of their time under Ho Chi Minh’s murderous regime.
— Michelle Steel (@MichelleSteelCA) September 1, 2020
Steel is an immigrant from South Korea, which sent a total of 300,000 troops to fight alongside the United States during the Vietnam War.
LeTourneau Refuses To Resign
Following his grudging non-apology apology, LeTourneau has hunkered down and refused calls for his resignation. Perhaps he genuinely thinks it is no big deal to praise a murderous Communist dictator responsible for untold human suffering while salting him for defeating the U.S.
LeTourneau is also notoriously pugnacious and stubborn. He is reportedly trying to back off his adversaries by playing the “I’m an HIV-positive gay man” card. Judging by the Democratic Party leadership response, they see this as a political and ethnic identity problem to be managed. We’ll see if LeTourneau’s identity politics countermove works.
If LeTourneau refuses to quit, the DPOC Central Committee would have to vote to remove him. Party rules require a minimum 10-day notice before such a meeting could be held, ensuring the story stays alive for two more weeks.
Would the central committee vote to remove? Outside of the aforementioned Democrat officeholders, the response from Orange County Democrats – also on the progressive Left – has been muted, or even annoyance at the condemnation of LeTourneau.
Compare that silence to the avalanche of often unhinged attacks by Orange County Democrats on Chapman University constitutional scholar John Eastman when he questioned Sen. Kamala Harris’ eligibility to be Vice President.
There’s a reasonable question as to whether or not Eastman is correct. There’s no argument over whether Ho Chi Minh was a bloody Communist tyrant responsible to war, terror, cruelty, oppression and death on a huge scale.
Mirvette Judeh, an active progressive Democrat from Buena Park suggested accepting LeTourneau’s non-apology and moving on:
Judeh is a progressive Palestinian rights activist who decries democratic Israel as an “apartheid state.” But when it comes to one of her activist friend’s praising a dictator and mass murderer, Judeh wants everyone to just move along while dismissed criticism of LeTourneau as a “witch-hunt.”
Anaheim Councilman Jose F. Moreno, who styles himself a spokesman for the oppressed, has been silent. And as Councilman Moreno likes to say: Silence = Complicity.