Rev. William Barber, president of the National Association of Colored People (NAACP) in North Carolina, described Sen. Tim Scott (R) as a ventriloquist dummy for tea party Republicans.
Barber made the comments of Scott, the African American junior senator from South Carolina, during a fiery on Sunday.
"A ventriloquist can always find a good dummy," Barber said during the speech to members of South Carolina's NAACP according to The State newspaper. He added that "the extreme right wing down here (in South Carolina) finds a black guy to be senator and claims he's the first black senator since Reconstruction and then goes to Washington. D.C., and articulates the agenda of the Tea Party."
Barber repeatedly attacked conservative Republicans in the speech also saying that "we must not give up the so-called high moral ground to the right-wing extremists."
According to the Associated Press, Barber also listed ways Southern governors and Republicans in Congress have mistreated Americans. The Associated Press said Barber ticked off a list that included "leaving the Confederate flag to fly on the grounds of the South Carolina Statehouse to refusing federal money to expand Medicaid and allowing poor schools to fall further behind."
Barber has been an outspoken figure in North Carolina's "Moral Mondays" movement, in which some liberals have been arrested while protesting right-wing legislation at the state capitol. He has strongly criticized the state legislature in North Carolina for passing restrictive voter ID laws.
Scott said he would refuse to respond directly to Barber.
"To reflect seriously on the comments a person, a pastor that is filled
with baseless and meaningless rhetoric would be to do a disservice to
the very people who have sacrificed so much and paved a way," Scott said in a statement provided to TPM. "Instead, I will honor the memory of Dr. King by being proactive in holding the door for others and serving my fellow man. And Rev. Barber will remind me and others of what not to do."
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(H/t: Aaron Blake at The Washington Post)
This post was updated.