Of all the locations to hold a retreat in all of the world, they had to choose this one. Republican Party leaders, fresh from an electoral shellacking among black, Hispanic, Asian and women voters, have decided to put their heads together Friday and figure out how to do better, particularly given the changing demographics in the country. But they’ve chosen an awkward venue for their session entitled “successful communication with minorities and women”: an historic Virginia plantation.
Friday’s panel, according to the published names, indicate it will include two Latino women, three white men and a Latino moderator. Yet the panel is not without an issue in optics; the room where the discussion will take place is called the “Burwell Plantation” room at the Kingsmill Resort.
In fact, the room is named after the Burwell Family, a wealthy family that owned many slaves in 18th century Southern Virginia. Records pertaining to the families owning of slaves is well-documented by the city of Williamsburg on their website.
Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., who heads Republicans’ campaign efforts, deflected a question regarding the irony of a panel trying to help the GOP woo minorities happening in a room named after a slave-owning family’s plantation.
“I don’t pick the rooms we meet in,” Walden said. “I know the Democrats have held their retreats here too and I assume you’ll go and figure out if they ever held meetings in that same room.”