Mississippi state Rep. Karl Oliver (R) has said he’s sorry for a Facebook rant calling for the lynching of Louisiana lawmakers who supported the removal of Confederate monuments.
In an emailed statement, Oliver said, “I deeply regret that I chose this word [lynching].” The controversial post still hasn’t been deleted from his Facebook page, however.
“The destruction of these monuments, erected in the loving memory of our family and fellow Southern Americans, is both heinous and horrific,” he wrote in the May 12 post. “If the, and I use this term extremely loosely, ‘leadership” of Louisiana wishes to — in a Nazi-ish fashion — burn books or destroy historical monuments of OUR HISTORY, they should be LYNCHED!
“Let it be known, I will do all in my power to prevent this from happening in our State,” he continued.
The lawmaker’s comments come after a 2015 City Council vote on a proposal by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu to remove four Confederate monuments throughout the historic city. Workers started removing the war monuments in late April, with a massive statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee being the last of the four monuments to come down Friday, May 20.
For many in the predominately African-American city, the statues were a bitter reminder of the divisiveness of the Civil War and the oppression of enslaved Black Americans. Southern Dixiecrats such as Oliver, however, have argued that the monuments are simply symbols of Southern pride, heritage and culture.
Democratic and Republican state lawmakers alike have since blasted Oliver for the remark, which alluded to racial violence wielded against African-Americans by whites from the late 19th century up through the civil rights era. A 2015 analysis by the Equal Justice Initiative reported nearly 4,000 lynchings of Black Americans in 12 Southern states between the end of Reconstruction in 1877 and 1950.
It should also be noted that Oliver represents Money, Miss., the same town where white locals Roy Bryant and J. W. Milam lynched 14-year-old Emmett Till in 1955, Mississippi Today reported.
Black Mississippi Sen. Derrick T. Simmons (D) shared Oliver’s post on his own social media accounts to make people aware of the type of leaders representing The Magnolia State.
— Sen. Derrick Simmons (@SenDTSimmons) May 22, 2017
“I am offended and outraged that a public official in 2017 would, with an obvious conviction and clear conscience, call for and promote one of the most cruel, vicious, and wicked acts in American history,” Simmons said in an emailed statement.
Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn (R) also denounced Oliver’s post, asserting that the comments “do not reflect the views of the Republican Party, the leadership of the House of Representatives or the House as a whole.”
“Using the word ‘lynched” is inappropriate and offensive,” Gunn told Mississippi Today. “We call on Rep. Oliver to apologize.”
Gov. Phil Bryant called the lawmaker’s language “unacceptable” with “no place in civil discourse.”
There’s no word on whether Oliver will be reprimanded.