Irish Catholic organization slams GOP for 'defaming' Irish Americans with 'toxic' tweet
© Twitter: GOP

The Ancient Order of Hibernians, the oldest Irish Catholic organization in the country, is denouncing a St. Patrick's Day tweet from the Republican National Committee that showed a photo of Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeO'Rourke mum on run for Texas governor Beto O'Rourke, Willie Nelson financially back Texas Democrats in elections bill fight Texans split on whether Abbott deserves reelection: poll MORE's decades-old DWI mug shot, edited to show the former congressman in a leprechaun's hat.

The statement asks the Republican National Committee to issue a statement denouncing the tweet and apologizing to the Irish-American community.

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“The Ancient Order of Hibernians are shocked and appalled that on St. Patrick’s Day, a day when America celebrates and honors the contributions that Irish Americans have made to our great country, the GOP would launch an attack on a prospective presidential candidate based solely on his Irish Heritage,” the Hibernians said in the statement.

The group blasted the tweet as a “scurrilous, stereotype-laced attack” and compared it to 19th century anti-Irish cartoons that permeated media at the time.

“This offensive meme is nothing more than a 21st-century version of the scurrilous anti-Irish cartoons of Thomas Nast,” the group said. 

“The Hibernians had hoped that the days when a candidate’s Irish ancestry would be used as a campaign fodder were confined to the dark past; that today American political debate focuses on the issues, not the ancestry of a candidate,” they wrote. “Sadly, this toxic tweet from the GOP proves we were optimistic and premature in our beliefs.”

O’Rourke, who recently jumped into the 2020 Democratic presidential race, brushed off the tweet as “pettiness” and said that voters are not interested in “personal attacks.”

Father Seán McManus, founder of the Irish National Caucus, also weighed in, telling The Hill: “Offensive stereotypes are always, well, offensive — regardless of the source.”

Updated at 10:59 a.m.