[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/07/19/art.flickr.minnick.jpg caption="Rep. Walt Minnick, D-Idaho, has rejected the endorsement of the Tea Party Express."]Washington (CNN) – Idaho Rep. Walt Minnick, the only Democrat to receive the backing of the Tea Party Express, has rejected the group's endorsement in a letter sent Monday to its co-chair Amy Kremer.
"[I]n any movement there are those who take things too far and say or do hateful, hurtful things which harm the cause of the entire group," Minnick wrote in the letter. "However, those who rise to or claim leadership in those movements have an obligation to lead with a respect for the movement and its members, and thus be responsible with words and actions."
Minnick's announcement comes a day after the Tea Party Express was expelled from The National Tea Party Federation, an organization that seeks to represent the Tea Party political movement around the country. The expulsion was the result of an inflammatory blog post penned by Tea Party Express spokesman Mark Williams.
Minnick pointed to the post as a reason for his dissatisfaction, calling it "reprehensible."
"The reprehensible blog post by your spokesman was clearly in poor taste. Whatever his reasons for writing it, his words reflect on all of those associated with the Tea Party movement," Minnick wrote.
"The proper response to his perceived slight on the issue of race was not to use inflammatory sarcasm. Rather, I would have expected your organization to instead highlight the Tea Party I know, the one with good, decent folks who care very much about the serious financial issues facing our nation and who themselves would find Mr. Williams' blog post distasteful," Minnick said.
"Instead, the Tea Party Express has apparently decided to stand by Mr. Williams and support him in his own contention that he did nothing wrong. I cannot agree with that course of action. Since the Tea Party Express refuses to reject and rebuke Mr. Williams, I have no choice but to decline your endorsement."
The Tea Party Express first endorsed Minnick in April, and at the time, Minnick said he was pleased.
"They're just ordinary folks who think the government ought to balance this budget. There's nothing very radical about that so I'm pleased to have their endorsement," Minnick told CNN.
The Idaho race is not the first place an endorsement by the Tea Party Express has been made an issue since Williams' post. The Nevada State Democratic Party released an email Sunday evening reminding voters that Republican Senate nominee Sharron Angle stood next to Williams on stage at an event where she accepted his group's endorsement. Angle has since distanced herself from Williams' remarks.
Williams wrote the blog post in response to an NAACP resolution that called on Tea Party leaders to crack down on racist elements in the movement. The 101-year-old civil rights group cited signs carried at Tea Party events and racial slurs reportedly shouted at black members of Congress during the heated debate over health care as examples of racism in the movement.
"Dear Mr. Lincoln," began the fictional letter posted by Williams. "We Coloreds have taken a vote and decided that we don't cotton to that whole emancipation thing. Freedom means having to work for real, think for ourselves, and take consequences along with the rewards. That is just far too much to ask of us Colored People and we demand that it stop!"
Williams went on to write that the Tea Party movement couldn't be racist because it opposed government bailouts for Wall Street banks and big corporations.
"Bailouts are just big money welfare and isn't that what we want all Coloreds to strive for?" the posting said. "What kind of racist would want to end big money welfare? What they need to do is start handing the bailouts directly to us coloreds!"
Williams, a conservative talk radio host, said the post was intended as satire. He took it down as criticism mounted.