Waynesboro Vice Mayor Jim Wood, under fire for a homophobic slur of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on his Facebook talk show last week, tried to make himself somehow the victim in his effort at an apology on Tuesday.
“The constant political attacks and threats on me by certain groups have been nonstop since the election, and I am honestly sorry that my words were hurtful to some, but I hope people take the time to see through the ‘political theater’ to know that I have nothing but the best of intentions and will put forth my best efforts for the future of Waynesboro,” Wood said in a statement sent to the News Virginian and WHSV-TV3.
Wood’s slur of Buttigieg – he referred to the Transportation Secretary as “ol’ Pete Buttplug, or whatever his name is,” on his Feb. 15 Facebook talk show, which he has since deleted from his Facebook page – has put Waynesboro into the national headlines, and of course, not in a good way.
His first defense of the slur, in an explanation to the News Leader, was that it was “a play on his name only,” though the pejorative “Pete Buttplug” is used widely in far right conservative circles on social media and message boards to denigrate Buttigieg, a former Navy intelligence officer who came out as gay in 2015 during his successful run for re-election as mayor of South Bend, Ind.
The pivot to blaming “constant political attacks and threats” – without citing even a single instance of a political attack or threat – comes in the face of Wood’s combative approach on his Facebook talk show, “Conservative Conversations with Jim,” which he debuted in early 2022.
Wood, days before being elected to Waynesboro City Council by a 17-vote margin over Ward D incumbent Sam Hostetter, made headlines for his homophobic comments directed at Paul Pelosi, the husband of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Addressing the politically motivated home invasion hammer attack on Paul Pelosi, the husband of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, on his Nov. 2 Facebook show, Wood asserted that the attack was as a “domestic dispute” perpetrated by “a male prostitute and advocate for Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ.”
“Both in their skivvies, and both had a hammer. Nothing to see here. Huh? How about that? Yeah. Yeah. Funny how that works,” Wood said.
Later in his rant on the attack, Wood offered what he called a “dad joke.”
“The best dad joke I’ve heard in a while has been floating around today, said right before that incident, you know, Nancy Pelosi, she texted Paul to say, I hope you’re not drinking and driving. And the reply was, No, I’m just staying at home getting hammered,” Wood said.
The video for the Nov. 2 “Conservative Conversations with Jim” show has also been deleted from his Facebook page, along with all of the others branded under that name that had been published to the page.
There is still video content in a talk-show format on the page dating back to 2020, including a live video posted on Jan. 6, 2021, in which Wood offers his thoughts on the attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump.
“I’m on the side of the patriots who marched on the Capitol today,” he said, adding later, “I wish I could have been there today.”
“I didn’t say we wouldn’t win without violence. Because I promise you, sometimes it comes to that. Absolutely, it comes to that. Find a way to get myself shut up off of Facebook by promoting violence, but I’ll tell you what, you get to a point where it will happen, it will happen, and it will happen honestly,” Wood said.
That was Wood in 2021. Wood, on Tuesday, wants to come across as sounding contrite.
“I apologize to council, the residents of Waynesboro, and Mr. Buttigieg personally,” Wood said. “I understand that my comment was insensitive and unbecoming of a member of council. I am truly sorry. My priority is to the city of Waynesboro, and I would never intentionally want to have a negative impact on our city, our council, or our citizens. I am proud that we have a very diverse community, and both me and my words need to reflect that in the future.”
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