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GOP Lawmaker Said Confederate Statue Vandal Should Be 'Hung from a Tall Tree'

Leaders in the Missouri House of Representatives have called on the legislator to resign.
Lia Kantrowitz
illustrated by Lia Kantrowitz
August 31, 2017, 10:23pm
Illustration by Lia Kantrowitz; photo by Kelley McCall / AP

After someone splattered red paint all over a Confederate monument this week in Springfield, Missouri, state representative Warren Love hopped on Facebook to offer his thoughts on how the situation should be handled.

"This is totally against the law," Love wrote on Thursday, according to the Associated Press. "I hope they are found & hung from a tall tree with a long rope."

Missouri senator Claire McCaskill, several members of the state House of Representatives, and other political leaders have since called for Love's resignation, which he's expressed no intention of handing in.

"This is a call for lynching by a sitting State Representative," Missouri Democratic Party chairman Stephen Webber wrote on Twitter. "Calls for poltical [_sic_] violence are unacceptable. He needs to resign."

Unlike Karl Oliver, a Republican lawmaker from Mississippi, Love told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he wasn't calling for a lynching, and that he would wouldn't remove the post.

"That was an exaggerated statement that, you know, a lot of times is used in the western world when somebody does a crime or commits theft," he told the Post-Dispatch. "That's just a Western term and I'm very much a western man... You know, I dress western. And, you know, I'm the cowboy of the Capitol."

Love adamantly insisted he wasn't a racist, telling the paper he has "a better relationship with the minorities than anybody up there at the Legislature." But he's been criticized for his controversial actions in the past, like when he shared a blog post calling Abe Lincoln the "greatest tyrant and despot in American history," or used the phrase "the black Negro" at a House meeting in January, according to the Post-Dispatch.

"In calling for the lynching of those who vandalized a Confederate statute in Springfield, state Rep. Warren Love invoked a form of political violence used throughout the South to keep African Americans subjugated for generations following the fall of the Confederacy," House minority leader Gail McCann Beatty told the Post-Dispatch. "For that he must resign."

Follow Drew Schwartz on Twitter.