Defender of Communism? Will Knecht Invites A.J. Daoud to Preside over 2023 GOP Convention

by | Mar 16, 2023 | News

Feature Image above is from the 2022 New Hanover County Republican Party Convention. 

New Hanover GOP Excuses Communist Sympathizing Leadership

If you believe the New Hanover County Republican Party has a “zero-tolerance” policy regarding GOP candidates, elected officials, and appointees who have sought endorsements from Marxist-Communist-leaning organizations, think again.

An audio secured from New Hanover County GOP’s 2022 convention floor presents the Republican Party as somehow managing to censure three sitting elected officials. This made national news when it was reported by Newsweek. Yet, one story gleaned from the audio went unreported:

NHC GOP leadership, using parliamentarian A.J. Daoud as an intermediary, publicly dismissed a motion regarding candidates, elected and appointed officials known to have sought support, backing or endorsement of any kind by organizations with known ties to the CCP or other Marxist organizations.

Yes, you read that right. The GOP seems to be protecting party officials who actively align themselves with Communist/Marxist organizations.

A.J. Daoud did such a great job in suppressing anti-Communist sentiment at this meeting that Will Knecht and Wayne Gibson invited him back to be the Chair of the 2023 County GOP Convention.

GOP Convention Chairman Daoud: We don’t want to be sued for outing Communist-sympathizing Republican Party leaders.

During the convention, at the time motions were being announced, convention chairman A.J. Daoud brought the event to a halt and unilaterally vetoed a new rule from being adopted without discussion or vote.

The proposal in question intended to expand the Party’s definition of “Disloyalty” in the GOP’s bylaws, known as the Party Plan of Organization.

Daoud’s rationale for preventing this motion from going forward: he didn’t want the Republican Party to be sued for using language persuant to Communism or Marxism. 

The actual wording of the proposed motion was as follows:

“[New Section Title:] Actions regarding Republican candidates or elected officials

“The definition of ‘Party Disloyalty’ shall also apply to any Republican candidate or elected or appointed official. This definition shall also include one who actively seeks the endorsement of a Communist- or Marxist-backed organization. Any Republican against whom charges are brought shall be furnished with 2 weeks notice of said charges and be given an opportunity to present a defense. The candidate or official may then be subject to a vote of censure by a quorum of executive committee members at the executive committee meeting or monthly New Hanover County GOP meeting or county convention by ⅔ majority. Censure may include public statement of the same and cessation of any monetary or public relations support for said candidate or official.”

The video above presents audio from the 2022 NHC Republican Convention where convention chairman, A.J. Daoud, unilaterally squashes the motion for a “zero-tolerance” rule on candidates who seek support and endorsements from known Communist organizations.

The following is a transcript from an audio recording from the event. The recording started just after Chairman Daoud stopped Chenoweth’s reading of the motion.


“Let me just make this perfectly clear — I have no idea what caused this motion or whatever — one of the things I’m proud to announce is… you read daily haymaker… I was proclaimed the first activist elected to party leadership, okay. But being a police officer I’m also very leery of language of what might lead to a lawsuit or some sort of negative [condemnation]. And I’ll tell you when you’re the maker, um, I’m concerned with the ‘Marxist’ and ‘Communist Party’. Otherwise, I have no problems with it (the amendment). So, my recommendation is going to be to table this and send this to Philip Thomas, who is our legal counsel. I’ll be glad to give you his email… and then you all can bring it up at your next executive committee meeting whether he feels it’s legal without having any kind of legal actions taken against New Hanover or the State Republican Party.”

When the Convention Chairman asked, “Everybody understands why I have concerns about that…,” many delegate members shouted back “NO!”

One woman shouted, “Why is it illegal to challenge someone for having Marxo-Communist backing or financial, fiscal support when we are a Republic and not Communist…?!”

Chairman Daoud interrupted,

“First off, we’re not in discussion. But second, these are terms… but listen, trust me, alright, I live 90 miles, I grew up 90 miles away from nuclear missiles from a Communist country, okay, but as a police officer, as a person legally in business, we live in a litigious time. People will sue you for dropping Kleenex on your property. So, I just want to make sure you… [inaudible].”

How Did the GOP Parlimentarian Legitimitely Postpone a Vote on the Motion?

According to Robert’s Rules of Order, the unilateral postponing of the motion by the chairman was a violation of fair procedure. What Daoud did, blocking the discussion of a read motion, was an illegitimate use of his authority as Parliamentarian. Robert’s Rules own website reads:

According to Robert’s Rules, can something be defeated by adopting a motion to table it?

This is a common violation of fair procedure. Such a motion is not in order, because it would permit debate to be suppressed by a majority vote, and only a two-thirds vote can do that. The proper use of the motion to Lay on the Table is stated in the answer to Question 12, immediately above. [RONR (12th ed.) 17:13–16.]

How can something be defeated without a direct vote on it?

Before debate on an original (ordinary substantive) main motion has begun, you may raise an Objection to the Consideration of the Question, which is undebatable and can suppress the main question by a two-thirds vote against consideration. [RONR (12th ed.) 17:19, 26:1–9; see also pp. 129–30 of RONR In Brief.]

If debate on the main motion has begun and you want to get rid of that motion without a direct vote on it, use the motion to Postpone Indefinitely. That motion requires only a majority vote, but until it is adopted, it leaves the main question open to debate.

If you feel that it is undesirable that debate take place, move the Previous Question immediately after the chair has stated the question on the motion to Postpone Indefinitely. If adopted by a two-thirds vote, this motion will cause an immediate vote on the motion to Postpone Indefinitely without further debate. [RONR (12th ed.) 17:18, 11:1–8, 16:1–28; see also p. 126 of RONR In Brief.]

Motives Behind the Motion

It was disclosed by the motion’s supporters that the motive behind expanding the Disloyalty definition was to mitigate support of Republican candidates and officials whose values go against Republican principles.

Stephanie Kraybill, specifically, was the catalyst behind this motion. While running for the New Hanover County School Board, she sought and received an endorsement from a local Communist-leaning group, New Hanover For All, a chapter of Carolina Federation, based out of the Durham-Raleigh area. After seated in office, Kraybill’s promotion of Marxist pedagogy for New Hanover Schools revealed her true political intent. Kraybill was one of the three censored at this event.

(above) Image published by Communist-leaning organization New Hanover for All when they endorsed Stephanie Kraybill.

(above) Stephanie Kraybill thanks New Hanover for All during a real-time Facebook live stream of their announced endorsements. Kraybill went through a comprehensive Q&A process for her endorsement from this organization.

Expect Similar Push Back from Party Members at the 2023 NHC GOP Convention

While the proposed amendment was supposed to be reviewed by the GOP’s legal team and revisited at one of the Executive Committee meetings last year, that simply didn’t happen. Here’s what did happen though:

  • The Executive Committee became a closed-door meeting, held in secret.
  • The maker of the motion was never invited back to review the proposed amendment.

We don’t know if this motion will be re-introduced on the floor at next week’s convention. But, if it is, we hope Daoud will follow Robert’s Rules of Order in properly addressing it.

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