Democratic Congressman depicts tea party as Ku Klux Klan
October 22nd, 2013
02:49 PM ET
5 years ago

Democratic Congressman depicts tea party as Ku Klux Klan

Washington (CNN) - Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Florida, used an image of a burning cross in an email to his supporters that compared the tea party movement to the Ku Klux Klan.

Next to the tall "T" of the burning cross are letters superimposed on the image that spell out "Tea Party," while KKK members stand in the background.

Grayson, who's known for making inflammatory remarks, said in the email the Republican Party does not want to do "anything useful" and they "simply want to bring about the End of Days, as quickly as possible."

"That is the ultimate Tea Party Republican desire, to bring about the End of Days," he continued. "The Republican Party has become the largest suicide pact in history. And I hope they don't take us with them."

News of the email quickly drew sharp reaction.

Republican Jorge Bonilla, who's challenging Grayson in 2014, said the email is "despicable and needlessly hurtful to the many millions of families that still deal with the wounds of racial prejudice."

Jennifer Burke, national outreach director of, said the email is "deplorable."

"As a black Tea Party activist, I could say that there's nothing more offensive than equating the Tea Party with the Ku Klux Klan," Burke said. "The hate speech uttered by sitting congressman Alan Grayson is deplorable, even by the low levels reached in recent years when Democrats routinely call us racists and suicide bombers."

Republican operatives at the Republican National Committee, as well as the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee, called on the President and their Democratic counterparts to condemn the language.

Defending the email, the Congressman released a statement pointing to examples of racism expressed against the President and attributed those sentiments to the tea party.

"For example, when the President visited my home of Orlando, Tea Party protesters shouted 'Kenyan Go Home.' Other examples include Tea Party chants of 'Bye Bye, Blackbird,' and Tea Party posters saying 'Obama's Plan: White Slavery,' 'Imam Obama Wants to Ban Pork' and 'The Zoo Has An African Lion, and the White House Has a Lyin' African,'" he said.

He went on to list other examples against African Americans and Hispanics.

"One could go on and on, because there is overwhelming evidence that the Tea Party is the home of bigotry and discrimination in America today, just as the KKK was for an earlier generation," he said. "If the shoe fits, wear it."

- CNN's Kevin Bohn and Gloria Borger contributed to this report.

Filed under: Alan Grayson • Tea Party
soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. Boomer in Mo

    Yes, there are bigoted tea partiers, but probably not the majority. The ones I know just are not very smart about some things, like how the economy works, though they may be smart about other things. The KKK implication is a bit much even with some racist tea party members running around.

    October 22, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    True, but not all that helpful.

    That being said, no, Dayspring, I don't think the MSM would pay attention at all. The Teatroll get a free pass from the MSM for all sorts of racist crap because the last thing the MSM wants to do is destroy the controversy gravy train. Had the MSM latched onto all the racist drivel the Teatrolls vomit on a daily basis, they never would've gotten as far as they have. Your waaaah waaaaaah "liberal MSM" victimhood dance is pathetic.

    October 22, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  3. lost in USA

    How far will the Liberals stoop? im am not a big fan of the tea party,but how dare an elected official call my fellow american brothers and sisters klan members? very stupid comment.

    October 22, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    "The hate speech uttered by sitting congressman Alan Grayson is deplorable"

    Whatever. Then she went on to call it the "democrat plantation" and accuse everyone who points out the Teatrolls' racist statements and behavior the "real racists."

    October 22, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  5. Zerubbabel

    He ain't never lied.

    October 22, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  6. Hooper

    Somewhat over diplomatic, but on the mark.

    October 22, 2013 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  7. smith

    I really don`t care for the tea party but this is just plain stupid. I don`t see or hear of bombings, killings, beatings, burning of churchs and so on being committed by tea party members. This race card stuff needs to stop. Just because your something other than a liberal democrat doesn`t make someone a racist.

    October 22, 2013 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  8. Malory Archer

    If the shoe fits.....

    October 22, 2013 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  9. len

    Read his examples against the President. All true. You decide.

    October 22, 2013 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |

    Grayson nailed it again. He's right on target. The confederate flags at their rallies make it clear. Dude was also right when he said that Healthcare reform to republicans means go home and die .

    October 22, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  11. Marie MD

    Close enough except the KKK wore robes to hide their faces. These terrorists are out in the open and people are too dumb to realize it.
    Grayson's wife has a pre existing condition and they are both very happy about Obamacare.
    I think the Rafael's are more nazi than KKK. Both bad for the world.

    October 22, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  12. rs

    A bit over-the-top in all probablity, but one does have to question the true nature of the TEA Party and their patriotism given their willingness to hurt the U.S. economy, waste taxpayer dollars, all the while parading around under confederate flags.
    It may simply be imagery they are playing with, but it is potent imagery.

    October 22, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  13. paul

    gee, how did i know that alan grayson was the congressman? grayson is the allen west of the left and thinks he's the 21st century huey long.

    October 22, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  14. Wake up People!

    Oh please. They do act like the klan and any black American that goes along with them is crazy. However dude in the picture looks like he could be a member himself.

    October 22, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    "Democratic Congressman depicts tea party as Ku Klux Klan"

    Teatroll statements and behavior depicts Tea Party as Ku Klux Klan.


    Grayson observing that fact, and citing the examples, may have been somewhat tactless and threw unnecessary fuel on the fire, but it was nonetheless accurate. Grayson didn't "depict" them as anything...he merely observed what their own statements and behavior indicate to anyone paying attention.

    October 22, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  16. J'Cincinnati'Redd

    @lost in usa
    you have bashed repubs,dems,libs,and the tea party on this blogg,how dare you try and take the high ground. You are no better then the rest of pick a side and stay on it.

    October 22, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  17. lorynx

    I'm sorry – he's right. Why in the world should anyone apologize???

    October 22, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  18. Rudy NYC

    "If the shoe fits, wear it."
    Whoa! He's back. Blue suit, red boots, red cape, and big, stylized "L" on his chest, and don't forget totally unapologetic, just like the GOTP.

    October 22, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  19. lorynx

    I'm sorry – but Mr. Grayson is right. Why in the world should anyone apologize for telling the truth!!!

    October 22, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  20. O'drama ya Mama

    Well the Republicans compared Obamacare to slavery so isnt this fair come back?

    October 22, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  21. Matt

    Disgusting. Not one tea party rally I've ever heard of has burned a cross or lynched anyone. Yet when conservatives call Obama a "socialist" it sends liberals into a rage. Gross hyperbole is ok if you're a Democrat but not a tea partier, huh?

    October 22, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  22. $$$$

    Burning crosses? Heck, why not go all the way and spell TEA PARTY with little swastikas. Better yet, spell TEA PARTY with little burning swastikas.

    Lets put it this way, Tea Party members are horrified at the thought of unrestrained government spending and exploding deficits. Perhaps these people are older and remember the stories that their parents and grandparents may have told them about the economic hardship that they experienced having lived through caused by the Great Depression. In 2008 and 2009 all of those stories about the Great Depression started to seem very real. If we do not change, then we are likely to see a repeat of the Depression, maybe worse. So, while I do not consider myself a Tea Party member, I do share their concerns. However, I refuse to wear one of the white hats with the pointy top.

    October 22, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    ""If the shoe fits, wear it.""

    If the hood fits, wear it.


    October 22, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  24. freedom

    This man is an oaf.
    This inflammatory rhetoric has been sanctioned by the president – he has set a tone of ugly language and deliberate divisiveness. He is perpetuating a destructive force in our society.

    October 22, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  25. hmmmmm

    truth hurts. all I gotta say.

    October 22, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
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