PAGE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Page Mayor Levi Tappan is in hot water after a social media comment some are calling racist toward the Navajo Nation. Some people are now urging Mayor Tappan to resign.
It started on Facebook, a user posted a letter that Mayor Tappan sent to Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez. In the letter, Mayor Tappan asked President Nez to work with him in opening Navajo lands such as Antelope Canyon to locals.
One woman in the comment section posted a picture of President Jonathan Nez and said, "He's busy fighting hard for our people." Mayor Tappan responded to the picture and posted his own. The picture appeared to show Native-Americans with Tappan writing: "I wish he would battle alcoholism as hard as COVID-19."
Mayor Tappan said he didn't say anything about race. The mayor said he'll apologize to people he offended, but believes the picture and the comment have been blown out of proportion.
"Someone sent me this picture and I've been really trying to work on these problems with the Navajo Nation and it's been turned around on me on making a racist comment and race has nothing to do with it," said Mayor Tappan.
Even though he directly responded to a comment about Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, Mayor Tappan said his comment was not solely directed at the tribe. "100 percent that was not the intention, I didn't even say anything about Navajos," said Mayor Tappan. "I never said just one race, that would be racist."
Meanwhile, people online are urging Mayor Tappan to resign. A Facebook user commented, "Mr. Mayor you need to be relieved of your job duties for being racist against Navajos."
Malarie Williams who's Navajo and lives in Page said the comment is disappointing, especially in a time when people need to come together. "At this point, we need to be unified especially with border towns like Page," said Williams. A sentiment that is shared by Navajo Nation President Nez.
"It is not time for us to lower ourselves to these types of comments but to reunite to fight these monsters that have come into our communities," said President Nez.
Mayor Tappan said he has no plans to resign. In the meantime, President Nez said he won't open anything, including Antelope Canyon, because he's following CDC guidelines, that means a two week decline in COVID-19 cases.