Katie LaPotin, Red Alert Politics, October 24, 2013
Florida Rep. Alan Grayson continues to stand by the sentiments expressed in a fundraising email his re-election campaign sent outMonday, which featured an image likening the Tea Party to the Ku Klux Klan.
“I think the Tea Party should expel those members who engage in hate speech,” Grayson told a reporter with Orlando ABC affiliateWFTV. “So many members of the tea party have engaged in hate speech against the President, against the First Lady, against numerous members of the Congress and against me. And we could give you examples of that.”
“I’m calling them out for their hate,” he added. “That’s not wrong. That needs to be done. It’s the only way to end it.”
In addition to defending the image of two Klansmen behind a burning cross used as the “t” in “Tea Party” — “because the essence of both unfortunately is an undue openness to racism, to bigotry, to prejudice” — Grayson also stated that the comparison wasn’t unfair despite the fact that the Tea Party doesn’t use violence to get its message across.
“Not yet,” he replied. “You may recall that there were people who brought automatic weapons to the President’s speeches. What were they trying to convey? They were members of the Tea Party.”
Meanwhile, two prominent Florida politicians have called out the Congressman over his mailer. Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz admitted Wednesday that she is “disappointed” in Grayson for sending the email.
“Obviously I am disappointed in the use of that imagery. Both sides need to dial back that kind of rhetoric and look to bring more civility into politics,” Wasserman Schultz said in a statement obtained by POLITICO.
Former Rep. Allen West, a Tea Party darling, called on President Obama to condemn Grayson’s actions.
“The President came out and started talking about civility in our dialogue. Where is President Obama?” West said Tuesday on Fox News’s “The Kelly File.” “I think that the President should be speaking out about this. He should reprimand and censor Alan Grayson for what he said.”
“You know, we continue to hear the use of this extremist language, jihadist language, arsonist, extortionist and now this equating constitutional conservatives, people who just believe in a constitutional way of government to operate, with people who were responsible for lynchings, and horrible things in the South and all across this country,” he added.