Earlier this month, city workers in New Orleans had to hide their identities and protect themselves with flak jackets after receiving death threats from people angry the city was dismantling four of its Confederate monuments. Then last weekend, alt-right figurehead Richard Spencer led a bunch of torch-carrying protestors to rally against the sale of a Robert E. Lee statue in Virginia. Now, a Mississippi lawmaker has apologized after saying that anyone who takes down a Confederate statue "should be lynched."
Karl Oliver, a Republican member of Mississippi's House of Representatives, posted his rant on Facebook on Saturday, along with a photo of the Robert E. Lee statue New Orleans took down last week, Huffington Post reports. In the post, which has since been deleted, the first-term representative calls for the lynching of Louisiana's politicians and simultaneously compares them to Nazis:
The destruction of these monuments, erected in the loving memory of our family and fellow Southern Americans, is both heinous and horrific. If the, and I use this term extremely loosely, "leadership" of Louisiana wishes to, in a Nazi-ish fashion, burn books or destroy historical monuments of OUR HISTORY, they should be LYNCHED! Let it be known, I will do all in my power to prevent this from happening in our State.
The post reportedly drew some "likes" from Oliver's fellow Republican state representatives John Read and Doug McLeod, according to the Jackson Free Press. It was also swiftly met with criticism from a handful of lawmakers and Mississippi's Republican governor, Phil Bryant.
"Rep. Oliver's language is unacceptable and has no place in civil discourse," Bryant said in a statement, Mississippi Today reports.
Mississippi's House Speaker Philip Gunn, a Republican, also came out against Oliver's comments. Gunn has reportedly called for removing the Confederate flag from the state flag, but hasn't been able to drum up enough support for the move, according to the Free Press.
"I condemn the comments recently posted on Facebook by Rep. Karl Oliver," he said in a statement. "They do not reflect the views of the Republican party, the leadership of the House of Representatives or the House as a whole. Using the word 'lynched' is inappropriate and offensive. We call on Rep. Oliver to apologize."
By Monday, Oliver finally issued an apology, according to the Clarion-Ledger.
"In an effort to express my passion for preserving all historical monuments, I acknowledge the word 'lynched' was wrong," Oliver said in a written response. "I am very sorry. It is in no way, ever, an appropriate term. I deeply regret that I chose this word, and I do not condone the actions I referenced, nor do I believe them in my heart. I freely admit my choice of words was horribly wrong, and I humbly ask your forgiveness."