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GOP congressman is sorry he said black people hate 'successful' white people

Republican Congressman Robert Pittenger has a hot take on what’s driving the protests in Charlotte right now: black people resent white people for their success.

“The grievance in their minds – the animus, the anger,” Pittenger explained during an interview with BBC’s Newsnight. “They hate white people because white people are successful and they’re not,”

Pittenger, 68, is a Republican serving his second term in Congress, and represents North Carolina’s ninth congressional district. His district encompasses the city of Charlotte, where protests erupted following the death of Keith Lamont Scott, a 43-year-old black man whom police shot and killed at an apartment complex earlier this week while searching for another person with an outstanding warrant.


Scott’s death – like many others before – has come to symbolize the violence and racism that black Americans often endure at the hands of law enforcement.

“A black man gets shot by a black police officer, and people protest because they hate white people?” asks BBC’s James O’Brien.

“Yeah,” Pittenger replies. “That’s what they say on TV. That’s what’s coming out of their mouths.”

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Offering further explanation for the unrest, Pittenger suggested government social programs are to blame. “It’s a welfare state,” Pittenger said. “We have spent trillions of dollars on welfare, and we’ve put people in bondage so they can’t be all they’re capable of being.”

His comments have been roundly denounced by his colleagues both sides of the aisle. Fellow North Carolina congressman GK Butterfield, a Democrat, condemned his words as “devastatingly ignorant and divisive.”

“One of the most ignorant statements I have ever heard,” wrote Democratic North Carolina assemblyman Grier Martin on Twitter. “Ashamed to have served with this fool in the [North Carolina General Assembly.]”

Chuck McGrady, a Republican North Carolina assemblyman, wrote in response to Martin: “I agree with you, Grier, and I’m afraid it wasn’t a misquote.”

Pittenger eventually offered an apology:

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