A Michigan official, who continues to use the N-word to refer to black people, refuses to resign from his position.

Leelanau County Road Commissioner Tom Eckerle, a Republican, has faced criticism and calls to step down from colleagues after his repeated use of the N-word during a Monday meeting about the Black Lives Matter movement. He also blamed the spread of coronavirus on black people.

“Well, this whole thing is because of them n*****s in Detroit,” Eckerle, who is white, said, according to the Leelanau Enterprise.

“I can say anything I want,” Eckerle continued at the meeting. “Black Lives Matter has everything to do with taking the country away from us.”

Eckerle has said he will not resign and said he will keep using the racial slur as much as he likes.

Eckerle doubled down on his use of the slur during a Thursday radio interview.

“No, I don’t regret calling it a n*****,” Eckerle said. “A n***** is a n***** is a n*****. That’s not a person whatsoever.”

Democrat Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who signed an order this week that declared racism a public health crisis in the state, has called on Eckerle to resign.

“Gov. Whitmer believes that Road Commissioner Tom Eckerle must resign immediately,” Tiffany Brown, a Whitmer spokeswoman wrote the Detroit News in an email Friday. “The governor has been very clear — there’s no place for hate and racism in Michigan.”

Bob Joyce, chairman of the commission, told the Detroit News that he and three colleagues on Thursday were giving Eckerle a letter to resign.

“We do not tolerate that,” Joyce said. “That’s not who we are.”

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