Mark Salvas, the executive director of the Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Democratic Party, says he was forced to resign over two social media posts. One post was put online a year ago and the other was posted by his wife last summer.
KDKA-TV reports Salvas, a former Marine and veteran of the Gulf War, was hired in September to the executive director's position long after he had posted a photo of he and his wife on his Facebook page. He also added the words: "I stand for the flag. I kneel at the cross."
"I'm not ashamed of my patriotism, not one bit. I fought for this country. I think I have a right to have a voice and be patriotic," Salvas told the television station.
He also pointed out that NFL players are correct if they want to take a knee during the National Anthem before games.
"That's part of what the flag stands for. It gives them the right to do that," Salvas said.
In a recent Facebook post, evangelist Franklin Graham also took note about Salvas' forced resignation, asking, "What has happened to the Democratic Party?"
However, some users on social media thought his posts were inappropriate for a Democratic Party leader. Their complaints became louder and focused directly at county party officials after Salvas' wife showed support for a police officer who allegedly shot and killed a young African-American man.
Salvas told the station he had known the police officer and his family since the officer was a young child.
"They have been there for us in hard times, and my wife and I felt it was necessary to be there for them because family backs family," he said.
But Pennsylvania Rep. Ed Gainey disagreed, saying the Facebook post offended African-Americans who are an important segment of the Democratic Party.
Gainey, who knows Salvas, says he's not a racist and has African-Americans in his family.
"I was asked by the chair of the Allegheny County Democratic Party to resign my position due to the controversy that was taking place on social media, and I did," Salvas said.
County party officials declined to comment on Salvas' resignation, saying it was a personal matter. But State Rep. Jake Wheatly said Salvas' mistake was not putting his personal views aside.
"As an official, he has to be very careful and sensitive that his words and his posts are not necessarily just his. They are reflective of the party in its entirety," Wheatley told KDKA.