NASHVILLE, TN – Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney demanded an apology from House Democrat Caucus Chairman Mike Turner for echoing an identical claim he made two years ago, saying racism is the reason for Tennessee voters’ opposition to President Obama.
Turner’s comments came at the Tennessee Democrats’ state executive committee meeting on Saturday.
Turner said, “We’ve got a president up here whose color is not the right shade according to a lot of people, and they just hate him for that reason…I was talking to a guy this morning at a filling station and it didn’t matter what Obama did, he’s not going to like it because Obama’s an African-American. I told him, I said, ‘Look, he’s half white. You ought to like half of him anyway.’ These people are dead set against him for that reason, and that’s unfortunate. That’s very unfortunate.”
According to the Nashville Scene’s Jeff Woods, the “half white” comment drew nervous laughter among the Democrats’ committee.
“This is not the first time that Mike Turner has said something absurd, but this crosses the line,” said Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney.
Turner made similar allegations of racism against Tennessee voters back in March of 2010, saying, “All of a sudden, we have a black man elected president and everybody wants to start acting like something’s wrong with our country.”
Turner’s comments two years ago prompted Devaney to send a letter to Tennessee Democrat Party Chairman Chip Forrester, asking him to condemn Turner’s comments at the time. A response was never received.
“Aside from his own racially-insensitive joke about President Obama, for Mike Turner to once again accuse Tennessee voters for not embracing the President’s failed economic policies because of racism is nothing short of outrageous,” said Devaney.
“Tennesseans overwhelmingly reject this President based solely on his failed policies that have led us to more spending, higher debt, and 23 million Americans still struggling to find work. Saying that Tennesseans’ objection to the President is because of racism is a slap in the face to the integrity and morality of voters, and Mike Turner should be ashamed.
“As I did two years ago, I, once again, demand that Mike Turner immediately apologize for his irresponsible joke and outrageous claim about Tennessee voters. And I, once again, also call on the Democrat Party to publicly condemn Mike Turner’s comments,” concluded Devaney.