RAPID CITY, S.D. — Republican state lawmaker Lynne DiSanto of South Dakota shared an image on Facebook depicting protesters being hit by a vehicle under the caption, “All Lives Splatter.” DiSanto, who is the GOP’s majority whip in the state House, did not immediately return a phone call requesting comment. The image she uploaded in a public Facebook post said, “All lives splatter. Nobody cares about your protests. Keep your ass out of the road.” DiSanto in her post added, “I think this is a movement we can all support.” DiSanto shared the image less than one month after a driver plowed through counter protesters at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., killing a 32-year-old woman and injuring 19 others.
Comments from friends and constituents on the post were initially supportive of the image. After the post was more widely circulated, the tone of comments turned against DiSanto until she deleted the post Tuesday afternoon. DiSanto is set to again serve as majority whip during the 2018 legislative session unless she opts to step down from the elected position, said Republican House Majority Leader Lee Qualm.
“I don’t think that will have an impact,” Qualm said. “Obviously I think she wishes she had not put it out there, but she was quick to pull it down and it seems like one of those things you do without putting much thought into it.” Qualm said the move was an error in judgment. He said the party does not condone hitting protesters.
“To put up a meme that pretty much encourages violence and possibly murder, that’s inappropriate. She’s a community leader and an elected official,” said Lori Miller, a spokeswoman for the group Indivisible Rapid City. “Not only is she inciting violence, she is targeting a certain race of people.”
The Republican eventually deleted the post Tuesday, and issued as statement in which she said “I am sorry if people took offense to it and perceived my message in any way insinuating support or condoning people being hit by cars,” DiSanto said. “I perceived it differently. I perceived it as encouraging people to stay out of the street.” DiSanto said she failed to consider examples of violence against protesters when she shared her Facebook post. “That was a lack of judgment on my part to not take that into consideration, the highly charged political environment that we’re in,” she said.
Since then a post appeared on the Facebook page of Keller Williams Realty Black Hills that said, “Due to recent events, Lynne Disanto is no longer associated with Keller Williams Realty Black Hills.” DiSanto’s occupation is listed as “Realtor” on her legislative biography page on the South Dakota Legislature website.