July 18th, 2010
10:43 AM ET
11 years ago

Top Republican mum on Tea Party controversy

Washington (CNN) – The top Republican in the Senate sought Sunday to stay out of the weeklong war of words between the NAACP and the Tea Party movement.

At its annual convention last week, the longstanding civil rights organization passed a resolution that called on the conservative grassroots movement to repudiate racism within its ranks. The resolution set off a national firestorm that came to a head Friday when Mark Williams, a spokesman for a national Tea Party group, decided to remove a satirical letter he had posted on his blog site earlier in the week in response to the resolution.

Related: Satirical letter meant to spark discussion, Tea Party leader says

Asked about the controversy on CNN’s State of the Union, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell sidestepped the prickly issue.

“Oh my goodness, . . . I’m not interested in getting into that debate,” McConnell told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley. “What we’re interested in is trying to have an election this fall that will respond to what the American people are asking us to do which is to have some checks and balances here.”

Asked whether some of the signs and imagery at some Tea Party rallies made him uncomfortable, the Kentucky Republican responded, “there are all kinds of things going on in America that make me uncomfortable, both on the right and on the left. I’ve got better things to do than to wade in to all of these disputes and discussions that are going out in the country.

“What we’re trying to do is to make the president a born-again moderate. We’re trying to send enough conservatives to Congress this November to move him in a different direction.”

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, had a different take on the racial controversy.

Asked by Crowley whether he believes the Tea Party movement condones racism, Hoyer suggested that some individuals might be taking advantage of the grassroots movement to stir up racial strife.

“I think there are some members who have used the Tea Party – whether it’s the Tea Party itself – there are some individuals who have tried to exacerbate racial tensions in this country,” Hoyer told Crowley.

The leading Democrat added, “What we need to be doing is talking about the issues and solutions and what happened in the past to get us in the ditch that we’re in. If we do that, I think this will be a positive election [in November]. If we try to simply inflame differences and create division, I think that will not be positive and I think that’s frankly what some are doing.”

soundoff (119 Responses)
  1. Joe

    It's the '60s all over again! The racist Democrats and independents are welcomed with open arms into the Republican party. I am white, live in the Chicago area and work with a bunch of racist ex-democrats. The comments are ignorant and disgusting. When ever I try and have an educated discussion about Obama's policy's they shut down and ignore me.

    July 18, 2010 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  2. Discernment


    A small but vocal minority has infused the Tea Party; and proof of prowess of the ignorant & idiotic vocal minority is that they manage to elect two "unwise and incompetent" Republican Candidates to run in November-2010 midterms.

    (1.) – Nevada's Tea Party Candidate for Senate Sharon Angle.
    (2.) – Kentucky's Tea Party Candidate for Congress Rand Paul.

    Even if these two idiots win, their ignorance will prove dangerous for their states and for the country.

    July 18, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  3. Joe

    “Oh my goodness, . . . I’m not interested in getting into that debate,”

    God, NO! He might have to actually take a stand on something and risk offending some of the foam-at-the-mouth lunatics he depends on to vote for him and the rest of the sad and sorry Republican't party. What a sleazy cheap bunch of losers.

    July 18, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  4. Jeff Spangler

    The NAACP has become irrelevant because it embraces racism as a remedy for racism and discrimination as a remedy for discrimination. Its leading voices cannot speak standard business English. Why should they be taken seriously?

    July 18, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  5. marxist dogs are out of control

    Sue in Vieena, you have never voted for a Republican in your life. So quit the silly comments.

    July 18, 2010 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  6. Paul

    Obvious racism aside, there's another reason that the tea party is lost. Taxed enough already? See, it costs money to run a country. Everyone wants everything but someone has to pay for it, especially when carrying two very expensive wars. Health care is a necessity for any civilized country, but it also costs money. Sure there's waste – it's government after all – but it is impossible to expect to pay minimal taxes and have any quality of life. Go back to health care, what people pay per month on private health care is way more than they will ever pay if there is an increase in taxes to cover nationalized health, plus if they get sick, they won't lose coverage or go broke. Spend more money and take the risk, just to spite the government? Incredibly short sighted and unrealistic and that's just one example.

    July 18, 2010 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  7. Keith in Austin

    Again you name-calling liberal know-it-alls continue to show your true colors.

    The New Black Panthers, NAACP, A.T. Eric Holder conveyed true racism in the greatest fashion this week. All right under your smug, quasi-elitist noses!

    Why do most of you continue to attack Tea Baggers as being stupid, racist hillbillies? Are You so much superior? My guess is a resounding NO! Keep on believing that your ideology is what's best for everyone though... Americans will let you know how they feel about it in November! The clock is ticking Sherlock!

    July 18, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  8. Greg in Cabot, AR

    Sounds like Mitch might have some white robes in his closet. If he cannot or willnot denounce the racist elements in the Tea Party, then he condones them....

    July 18, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  9. Duane Bernard, Tucson, Az

    The Republican Party caused the problems that the Untied States is in and they can't admit it to themselves or to anyone else. Just like Bush when ask if he did anything wrong ... he couldn't think of anything! The Republicans remind me of the little kid that get caught and blames it on his little sister. The Republican Party has NO ideas, NO solutions, NO thinking of their own (they only do what the rich/big business goons tell them to say).
    President Obama, if given a chance, will correct the wrongs that Bush/Regan and the Republican Party have caused the last 25 years and the average Americans will begin to prosper again. If The Republican Party gets back to power ..... they will rape and pillage the US until there is nothing left.

    July 18, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  10. marxist dogs are out of control

    I was a Democrat for most of my life and supported each and everyone for decades. But because of the radical surge to the left of Obama, Pelosi, Menendez, Boxer, ad nauseum I must forever leave the Democrat party.

    July 18, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  11. Ev

    It's amazing how many words this guy uses to say nothing and avoid answering the question...

    July 18, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  12. jan930

    I do know ,down here in south ,all the people I know are racist. They think the only news channal is Fox. It's really hard liking President Obama and you can't say anything because you will have people yelling at you. Believe me they say terrible things.

    July 18, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  13. sloop

    Hey marxist dogs , yes all of us Dems are marxists. So that must mean all Repubs are fascists huh? Guess you have your jackboots ready for some stormtroopin`.....

    July 18, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  14. RB from Seattle

    That's rich! The racist NAACP whining about racism! How laughable. And all the while the DNC looks the other way. I don't know which is more sad.

    July 18, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  15. SuburbanBob

    marxist dogs are out of control July 18th, 2010 11:46 am ET

    Suburbanbob – your O-bah-meesta buddies called for the assination of Bush, time and time again. It has become a fantasy you folks. CNN has even allowed postings here advocating that. Don't see anything of that coming from the right against Obama.

    You are truly living in a fantsy world if you believe what you say. And the word is assassination...

    @ Sue, Vienna, VA
    Well said!

    July 18, 2010 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  16. marxist dogs are out of control

    Again the question must be asked. Since most pedophiles are Democrats shouldn't the NAACP, President Obama, the Democrat Party dictatorship, and other aligned with the Jarrett/Obama presidency DENOUNCE pedophiles and no uncertain terms.

    Pedophilia is sickenss and the NAACP and other radical left organizations seem to have problem with pedophilia within their ranks.

    July 18, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  17. marxist dogs are out of control

    So Sloop...you refuse to denounce pedophiles ?

    July 18, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  18. Drew

    Why are they so damnned scared to call it as it is?!?
    The Tea Party is clearly condoining internal elements of racism and xenophobia.
    If you are not part of the solution – you are part of the problem!

    July 18, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  19. polls always lie

    I just have one question. why is folks mad because NAACP said " we find it disturbing that there is no repremand to some of the racial makeup of the tea party" that = "Not all of them are racist but there are some elements and representation that should be condemed.

    Also folks who get mad saying blacks racist and are crying double standards.
    Truth is ur closet racist. we need togetherness not partisanship not seperate races the human race.

    July 18, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  20. perryrants

    "some of the signs and imagery at some Tea Party rallies, the Tea Party movement condones racism"

    if you tell a lie many times, it ends up being the truth!!

    July 18, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  21. marxist dogs are out of control

    Sorry Suburban Bob for my incorect speling. I was edubacated in a public schooles staffed with union teachers.

    July 18, 2010 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  22. vic

    Who Marxist republicans or democrats

    Republicans take from middle class giving to Rich republicans are the real Marxist

    July 18, 2010 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  23. Marge

    Gee wonder why....the republicans are so racist they won't be able to keep their mouths shut long. But they are letting the tea bags say it for them. They have fought against letting black people have the same rights since the Civil War. I can't understand how they were ever on the side of the North. But wait. They wanted the industries in the South.

    I have not seen ONE REPUBLICAN support the fact that the tea bags are a bunch of racist. Look at all the signs and the flaming and negative ads they produce against Obama. WHAT IN HADES IS THAT BUT RACISM.

    Where's the real media when you need them. Oh Oh Oh I know they have their head up republican butt and are overcome by the fumes.

    July 18, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  24. Alison Dunn Wilkinson

    'marxist dogs are out of control,'
    you have never voted for a Democrat in your life. So quit the silly comments.

    July 18, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  25. Charlie in Maine

    The Tea Party is 100% about color. It is not black and white though. It is "green" (as in money not environmentally). The only "K" involved it not for the Klan but for the over $100k annual income they have. Or perhaps for "K" street where the high-paid lobbyists hang out. This is a group concerned abou their bottom line. Under Bush they enjoyed representation without taxation. This is an effort to make ol Bushie's tax cuts for the wealthy permanent and I hope they fail miserably the way their President did. But racists? No way. It's just that most black folks are too smart to join.

    July 18, 2010 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
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