Rep. Thompson accuses Gov. Bryant, Sen. McConnell of racism

U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson accused Gov. Phil Bryant and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of racism and called Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas an “Uncle Tom” on a New Nation of Islam radio program.

Thompson said he knows of no other president who has been treated like Barack Obama and said Republican “blatant disrespect” of Obama “is all about race.”

Thompson said Bryant’s opposition to federally funded Medicaid expansion per the Affordable Care Act is “just because a black man created it.”

Neither Thompson’s office nor Bryant’s have yet responded to requests for comments about Thompson’s remarks.

His comments, made in a call-in to the program over the weekend, are making national news. But state political observers are more nonplussed, with Thompson known for strong statements and bringing race into politics.

“I think he speaks for himself, and I’m not going to comment directly on what he said,” said state Democratic Party Chairman Rickey Cole. “… But the rancor and negativity directed toward this president is unprecedented … Politics is a full-contact sport, and we all engage in strong rhetoric from time to time.”

Cole said Thompson’s comments pale in comparison to hits Obama has taken, including “a congressman from South Carolina standing up on the floor of the House in a joint session while the president was speaking and calling him a liar.”

Clarion Ledger
4/30/14