In a Facebook post this Wednesday, an East Tennessee lawmaker equally condemned Black Lives Matter and white supremacists as “racist hate groups” and called the Confederate flag a “symbol of freedom,” according to the Tennessean.
Saying that he wanted to let his constituents know where he stands, Rep. Micah Van Huss wrote on his personal Facebook page that “Black Lives Matter, the KKK, and Neo-Nazi’s [sic] are racist hate groups and I condemn them.”
“Some of those groups have taken a banner that is dear to my heart and made it one of their symbols,” he continued. “For me, Robert E. Lee’s battle flag is a symbol of freedom. Stonewall Jackson was my fathers [sic] hero.”
“I’ve supported Ted Cruz for many years. After last nights [sic] truth session, I now support President Trump,” he said.
The executive director of the Tennessee distanced himself from Van Hess’s comments in an email to the Tennessean, saying, “Freedom of speech and assembly is important constitutional right that all Americans should have,” adding that “violence, racism and bigotry, whether it be on the ball fields of Alexandria, the streets of Charlottesville, or anywhere else in America, has no place in our democracy or political discourse.”
According to Tennessee Democratic Party Chair Mary Mancini, Van Huss’s comments “empower racists.”
“Black Lives Matter is not a hate group, period,” she said to the Tennessean. “It’s infuriating that Rep. Van Huss is equating Nazis and white supremacists with those who fight against oppression and fight for the values that we as Americans hold dear — freedom, equality and opportunity for all. We are all Tennesseans and Mr. Van Huss as a state representative should understand that. Instead his words empower racists and all who seek to turn Tennesseans against one another.”
Featured image via Flickr