The new president of the National Rifle Association has apologized for “insensitive and inappropriate” remarks she made about Black lawmaker and pro-gun advocate Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Ga.)
“I apologize to Rep. McBath and her supporters,” Carolyn Meadows, who was elected head of the NRA just last week, said in a statement through a spokesman, according to The Washington Post.
“My comments were insensitive and inappropriate,” she said. “I did not intend to discredit the congresswoman or the merits of her campaign — only to reflect my view that the Second Amendment was not a prevailing factor in this election.”
Meadows drew the ire of critics this week after telling her hometown newspaper, metro Atlanta’s Marietta Daily Journal, it was McBath’s presence as a “minority female” that got her elected to Congress in 2018 — not her tough stance on gun reform.
“That didn’t have anything to do with it — it had to do with being a minority female,” she told the paper in a recent interview, adding that the Democrats “really turned out” to help McBath win the seat that had been long held by Republican figures.
“There will be more than one person in the race, but we’ll get that seat back,” she continued.
McBath, 58, first rose to prominence in 2012 when she vowed to address the gun violence that killed her 17-year-old son, Jordan Davis. She would go on to advocate for stricter gun laws, and pushed for laws requiring mandatory background checks for all gun purchases.
Her victory last November was hailed as a ” major Democratic upset” as she successfully unseated GOP Rep. Karen Handel for Georgia’s 6th District. McBath has since cemented herself as an outspoken critic of gun reform — which has made her target for her conservative adversaries like Meadows.
“Hi NRA! It’s time we clear something up,” McBath wrote in a series of tweets addressing Meadows. “I won this race because — after my son was senselessly murdered in 2012 — I stood up to do something about it.”
“After Jordan was murdered — I realized that nobody was going change our laws for us, so I had to do it myself,” she added, this time posting a photo of she and her late son, who was fatally shot in 2012 during an argument over loud music playing in his car.
“My work on gun violence, healthcare, and many other issues is just starting,” McBath wrote. “And yes — as a woman of color I am proud to be part of the most diverse class in American history. My experiences drive the work I am doing for my constituents. And nobody can take that away from me.”
McBath’s supporters also rushed to her defense and chided Meadows for trying to discredit the congresswoman’s work.
“Hey @NRA: show me one person who said that the way to flip Newt Gingrich’s old seat was to find a “minority female” in 2017,” Illinois Rep. Sean Casten tweeted. “@lucymcbath is a great person. That’s why she won. Enough with the racism.”
Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.) called Meadows’ comments a flat out “lie.”
“My friend @lucymcbath is in Congress because she ran on a strong gun safety agenda that is supported by a majority of Americans,” Wexton wrote. “And she’s doing a damn good job of following through on those promises since coming to Washington.”
Hear more of McBath’s reaction in the clip below.
Rep. Lucy McBath, whose son was fatally shot, reacts to new NRA president's apology after she said McBath only won because she’s a "minority female."
“The most acceptable apology…would be the NRA gun lobby…no longer putting profit over public safety.” https://t.co/N50KieNZDl pic.twitter.com/Dgzb0CZU2N
— CNN (@CNN) May 7, 2019