LAS VEGAS (AP) — Las Vegas City Councilwoman Michele Fiore, facing a possible recall and under fire for racially divisive comments she reportedly made at a recent county Republican convention, stepped down as mayor pro tem Tuesday.
At a news conference in the lobby of City Hall, Fiore said she’s committed to healing the community and the allegations aren’t the reason for her decision to step down.
Fiore said she will continue to represent Ward 6 as a councilwoman but “for the benefit of the city of Las Vegas, I am passing the responsibilities of being mayor pro tem back to the mayor of Las Vegas.”
Mayor Carolyn Goodman said she didn’t know about Fiore’s decision to step down until 90 minutes before Tuesday afternoon’s news conference and she’s talked to Councilman Stavros Anthony about replacing Fiore as mayor pro tem.
Anthony served as mayor pro tem for Goodman from July 2011 to April 2015.
Fiore, who is white, declined last week to describe or repeat what she said at the June 6 convention, which took place after protests against police brutality and racism spread nationwide over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after being restrained in Minnesota by a white officer.
She apologized to anyone she offended, but said her remarks were being portrayed inaccurately and taken out of context in media reports.
The Clark County Republican Party issued a statement condemning what it called “racially charged” and “irresponsible” comments Fiore made at the party’s recent convention.
County GOP chief of staff Richard MacLean told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that he did not hear the comments firsthand but the party received more than 100 calls about them, including from Republicans in attendance and GOP lawmakers who were not there.
MacLean said those who attended recounted hearing Fiore making comments supportive of law enforcement and criticizing affirmative action, in which she used an expletive to describe a scenario in which she lost her job to a black person.
Councilman Cedric Crear, the only black member of the city council, sent a letter to Goodman calling Fiore’s comments “racist and inflammatory” and asking for Fiore to be demoted as mayor pro tem.
The city clerk’s office received a notice of intent last week from a group called “Expel Michele” that it planned to circulate a recall petition and has until Sept. 9 to collect more than 1,900 signatures for the petition.
Fiore is known for making controversial statements and posing with guns in a custom calendar and on a family Christmas card.
She defended the Confederate flag in a 2015 campaign email. That same year, while serving as a state lawmaker, Fiore was twice removed from a GOP leadership position after blaming reports that the IRS had filed hundreds of thousands of dollars in liens against her on Republican consultants conspiring against her.