July 19th, 2010
07:14 PM ET
11 years ago

Minnick rejects Tea Party Express endorsement

[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.

Filed under: 2010 • Tea Party Express • Tea Party movement • Walt Minnick
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Chip Pierce

    The Tea party, Sarah Palin and a GOP without a plan are going to ensure that Obama is re-elected, folks.

    July 19, 2010 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  2. veteran

    Well imagine that ; a democrat refusing The Tea Party endorsement! Bet that icon of virtue Reid called him!

    July 19, 2010 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  3. martin

    it's a start.

    July 19, 2010 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  4. Margaret Anderson/Boise, Idaho

    Thank goodness, Rep. Walt Minnick, you are renouncing this group. Their leaders have lost control of their message with this horrible part of their movement. As long as racism, hate, and intolerance are a part of this movement, then all relevant people need to denounce this group. Let them form their own hate group. Oh wait, it is called the "White Supremists." Idaho knows all about this group. Intelligent discussion does much more good than nasty rhetoric and ugly posters and billboards.

    July 19, 2010 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  5. Vic

    There ya go again CNN, trying to confuse people by reporting that the Tea Party Express is the same thing as the Tea Party...Your so devious. Sneaky. Nice try.

    July 19, 2010 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  6. thor

    I guess that endorsment was a little bit more than Nancy Pelosi could take.So she put out the word that Dems would blackball this guy if he didn't repudiate the endorsement.

    July 19, 2010 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  7. JohninTampa

    Something else needs said?

    July 19, 2010 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  8. Kate

    Sure the majority of tea partiers are just plain folks worried about spending. But they are the victims of an incredible misinformation and propaganda campaign that cynically brings out deep-seated fears of anybody different, like African-Americans, Muslims, and socialists. Most don't even know what socialism is. They've been fed a bunch of lies that make every legitimate function of government seem "socialisr."

    July 19, 2010 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  9. TeaClown

    Way to go Walt! I'm a Boise State Bronco grad stranded in Texas (near TCU!). Good to hear a politician with brains. Maybe the Idaho constituancy will take notice of your rational thinking.

    Every politician under the sun needs to distance themselves from the Tea Partiers. Thier proven racism will become toxic in a general election. They were good tools for the GOP (except in Idaho) but they served their purpose and will now be cast off by the Republican Party.

    July 19, 2010 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  10. TinCan1

    Bravo! Even if the majority of Tea Party members aren't racist (and I truly believe that they are not), the fact that they allow a vocal minority to spew this type of vitriol and hate is, as Minnick points out, reprehensible. Tea Party, if you want to be seen as a legitimate movement and not as a media-generated front for the GOP, continue denouncing the fringe element of your group like you did with Mark Williams.

    July 19, 2010 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  11. Tom-Vermillion, Ohio

    Wise political move. I look for the same from Palin endorsees.

    July 19, 2010 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  12. Capt. Obvious

    The Tea Party has gone from a non-party grassroots movement to a bunch of nut job right wing extremists. Minnick is smart in dissociating himself from those crazies.

    July 19, 2010 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  13. D.

    A man with principles. A politican with values and principles. This man needs to win.

    July 19, 2010 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  14. Former Republican, but never again!

    I'm waiting for a few Republicans to repudiate the Tea Party. Guess I'm going to be waiting a LONG time!

    July 19, 2010 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  15. jr

    Well i live in his district and if he doesn't want my vote then I'll be happy to give it to his challenger.

    July 19, 2010 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  16. qvt

    Minnick – You did reject Tea Party because Dems will be losses this Nov...idiot.

    July 19, 2010 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  17. Paul

    We are going to take back OUR country, this is not the country ours fathers founders left us.... Let's build the FENCE at the border with Mexico, Arizona is our role model.... I still want to see the copy of the visa given to settlers in Mayflower by the embassy of Natives of America in England.... Blacks came to this country 50 years before the settlers with Portuguese as Evangelists... had good relationship with us, natives of america. They were making tools (go to Jamestown and Yorktown if you have any questions, there is house for blacks from Angola) and helped the settlers when they came here in search for freedom and poursuit of hapiness... I can imagine that the people who are insulting blacks and Obama, their grandparents came here way after blacks in this country... Tancredo... do you remember this name as Settler? Guilliani...

    July 19, 2010 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  18. William Jefferson

    Being endorsed by th tea baggers is kind of like getting the endorsment of NAMBLA. Who in their right mind wants that kind of support?

    July 19, 2010 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  19. DENNA

    Good for him. The Tea Party is poison to any right thinking person, no matter which side of the aisle they sit on. Mark Williams and Joe Barton are true examples of the Tea Party movement and America cannot afford to be dragged backwards in time to the 50's. If we don't learn to live together peacefully, we will perish. America will not survive if this animosity does not cool down.

    July 19, 2010 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  20. Shannon

    Of course it's a Democrat that rejects racism, Republican seem to embrace it more and more everyday

    July 19, 2010 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  21. JR

    You cannot write such insulting letter to an entire race, and consider yourself as a human being.

    July 19, 2010 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  22. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Good...any Democrat would be crazy to want to have their name associated with those hateful lunatics.

    July 19, 2010 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  23. Mark

    Regardless what the media is trying to do, The Tea Party represents the working class.

    July 19, 2010 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  24. D.

    Good, and all politicians endorsed by the NAACP should also do the same!

    July 19, 2010 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  25. GrogInOhio

    Wow... good for him!

    July 19, 2010 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
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