Charlie Rangel: Calling tea partyers ‘white crackers’ actually ‘term of endearment’
Don’t take offense — referring to members of the tea party as “white crackers” is actually complimentary, said Rep. Charles Rangel, longtime Democratic lawmaker.
That’s how Mr. Rangel explained away his widely criticized 2013 reference to the group during an interview with The Huffington Post in which he also seemed to suggest that tea party members were of the same vein as terrorists.
Mr. Rangel was first confronted with his 2013 statement, when he likened the tea party to the “same group we faced in the South, with the white crackers, the dogs and the police,” the video showed.
He then responded: “I thought that was a term of endearment. They’re so proud of their heritage and all the things they believe [the tea party] … I can tell you this. With all of the feelings I have against these people who have been against justice, fair play, equality, and the freedoms as we know it, if I offended them by calling them a white cracker, for that I apologize. For the rest of it, there’s a lot that has to be done here,” he said, on the video.
Mr. Rangel then dug in to his stance a bit more, seeming to suggest that those who criticized his reference to the tea party as a grouping of white crackers were out of line — and also seeming to suggest that tea party members were of the same ilk as terrorists.
“With the names I’ve been called, I’ve never really put cracker in that category. I certainly would like to have dinner with some of the people who were offended,” he said, on the video.
“This shows how ridiculous this is: a guy … in Congress calls mean-spirited people that bomb and kill people, set dogs on them, lynch people, and still refuse to believe that we’re suffering the pain from this — they can say that guy makes a lot of sense but he had no business calling us a white cracker. Like I said, if I had thought that that would have made a difference in terms of their beliefs, believe me, I would have taken that away, crumbled it, thrown it away.”