Community groups in Arizona have launched renewed calls for GOP Rep. David Stringer to resign from his post after he was caught on tape saying Black Americans and other groups “don’t blend in” and that non-native English speaker are a “burden on taxpayers.”
Stringer’s comments came last month during a Nov. 19 lecture at Arizona State University, where he talked with students about the results of the recent midterm elections, according to the Phoenix Sun-Times, which published the damning recordings.
In the clips, the GOP lawmaker is heard saying that African-Americans and other minority groups don’t blend in after immigrating to the U.S., and that unlike European immigrants, they “always look different.” Stringer goes on to contend that “diversity in our country is relatively new,” adding that immigrants of European descent tend to look and speak alike after “the second or third generation.”
“The difference between the Polish-American immigrant and the immigrant from Somalia is the second-generation Polish immigrant looks like the Irish kid … and the German kid and every other kid,” he says. “But the immigrant from Somalia does not.”
Later on in the lecture, Stringer griped about the cost of teaching non-native English speaking students, calling it a “pretty significant burden” on American taxpayers.
Three ASU students are heard on the audio challenging the state lawmaker, who has made racially offensive comments in the past. Stringer’s most recent remarks come just months after he was nailed to the wall for saying there “weren’t enough white kids to go around” in Arizona’s public school system, which is comprised of 60 percent racial minorities.
Stephen Chmura, the 19-year-old sophomore who provided the recordings of Stringer, said he and fellow classmates researched the lawmaker during his lecture and wanted to see if his racist views had evolved. It turns out they hadn’t.
“We were itching to talk to him about it,” Chmura told The Arizona Republic. “We knew what we were up against.”
Stringer has also previously lamented that “immigration today represents an existential threat to the United States,” and a recent Phoenix New Times report revealed he penned a 2017 op-ed arguing America would be better of as a predominately white nation.
Leaders from both sides of the aisle urged the lawmaker to resign following the remarks, but he refused, the Arizona Republic reported. Stringer would go on to win his re-election in the November midterms.
Arizona state Rep. César Chávez (D), an immigrant himself, didn’t mince words in his sharp rebuke of Stringer on Friday.
“The Arizona Legislature has no room for individuals such as David Stringer,” Chávez wrote on Twitter. “Arizona is enriched by its diversity and cultures. We must look to move forward from this divisiveness, and I believe in order to do so he must resign or the #AZLeg should take actions for expulsion.”
Incoming House Speaker Rusty Bowers expressed a similar sentiment and called on Stringer to give up his position as chairman of the House Sentencing and Recidivism Reform Committee. Stringer ultimately agreed.
His remarks don’t reflect the sentiments of the Arizona Legislature, the constituents we represent, and the policies we enact,” Bowers said in a statement hours after the audio clips were released. “These comments render him incapable of performing his duties as (committee) chair.”
Carlos Galindo-Elvira, spokesman for Arizona’s Anti-Defamation League, dubbed the remarks “bigoted,” “racist,” and “outrageous” and said they raised “serious” questions about Stringer’s fitness to serve in office.
According to the DC Courier, the Prescott City Council is scheduled to hold a Special Voting Meeting to address Stringer’s comments.
Hear Stringer’s remarks in the audio below.