Ontario Liberal campaign chair apologizes for saying ‘People think Doug Ford’s a bit of a dick’
David Herle, co-chair of the Liberal campaign, made the comment on Toronto TV station CP24 Friday afternoon as part of a panel discussion featuring strategists from each of the three parties.
Herle was asked by the host if he has concerns heading into an election where voters could be looking for change — which the host compared to the late Rob Ford’s election as Toronto mayor in 2010.
Rob Ford, Doug Ford’s brother, died of a rare form of cancer in 2016.
“Doug Ford is not Rob Ford,” Herle said. “Rob Ford was a good politician. People liked Rob Ford. He was a popular guy.”
When prompted by the host, Herle said he doesn’t think people like the Progressive Conservative leader.
“No, I think people liked Rob Ford, and I think people think Doug Ford’s a bit of a dick, to be honest,” he said.
Early Friday evening, Herle issued a statement saying he regrets using that term and apologizes “without qualification.”
WATCH: Kathleen Wynne says campaign co-chair must apologize for ‘bit of a dick’ comment on Doug Ford
“Doug Ford has a long history of using derogatory and insulting terms to refer to a wide range of people with whom he disagrees – including female journalists, parents of autistic children and many others,” he said. “No matter how commonplace such conduct might be for Mr. Ford, it is no justification to follow suit.”
Ford told 640 Toronto’s Alex Pierson that he thinks the Liberals are “going to get dirty” in the campaign. He said that he wants to focus on the issues.
“I have a thick skin and that doesn’t bother me,” he said of Herle’s comments. “What does bother me is them attacking my supporters. They’re insulting every single person who wants change, everyone who wants to get Ontario back on track.”
Ford made the comments as part of an interview with ON Point with Alex Pierson, which airs 8 p.m. on Global News Radio 640 Toronto, 900 CHML, and 980 CFPL.
Wynne, who is in Halifax for a national Liberal party convention, had called on her adviser to apologize.
Earlier this week, she accused Ford of going low, comparing him to Donald Trump after he insinuated she and the Liberals have acted criminally.
“If Kathleen Wynne tried to pull these kinds of shady tricks in private life, then there would be a few more Liberals joining David Livingston in jail,” Ford stated in a media release.
Wynne said Ford “all but chanted, ‘Lock her up,’” the phrase used by Trump supporters in reference to Hillary Clinton.
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