State Sen. Chris McDaniel (R-MS) defended the Sons of Confederate Veterans, an organization whose events he has attended, as singly focused on historical appreciation and not “racist.”
“We’re talking about an organization that our governor is a member of, that in the past that our senators have been members of, that many members of our House and Senate are members of,” McDaniel said in an interview with The Weekly Standard published on Friday. “It’s not a racist organization. It’s a historical organization filled with reenactors and collectors. That’s all it is.”
In October Mother Jones reported that McDaniel addressed a neo-Confederate event sponsored by a local chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, the Jones County Rosin Heels. That group described the event as a “Southern Heritage Conference” for “politically incorrect folks.”
The Weekly Standard noted that Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS), who McDaniel is hoping to unseat, has also said complimentary things about Confederate veterans and has a picture of former Confederate States of America President Jefferson Davis in his office.
Most of the interview The Weekly Standard conducted with McDaniel centered on his response to comments he made years ago while hosting a right-wing radio show. On the show, McDaniel said he wouldn’t pay his taxes if they were hiked because of reparations over slavery.
“No. Like most Americans, I’m gonna pay my taxes,” McDaniel told the Standard.
During his radio show McDaniel also joked about referring to Latino women as “mamacitas.”
“You say that at the wrong place and the wrong time you will get beat down,” he said on the show, according to recordings released this week. “Mamacita. It’s not a bad word. It’s indicative. I think it basically means — I’m an English-speaking Anglo. I have no idea what it means, actually, but I’ve said it a few times, just for, you know, fun. And I think it basically means, ‘Hey, hot mama.’”
But McDaniel told The Weekly Standard that he did not recall saying that.
“I don’t remember, it was almost ten years ago,” McDaniel said. “I was a conservative talk radio host. We talked about dozens and dozens and dozens of issues.”
McDaniel faced questions over his associations to advocates of racial segregation. The Weekly Standard asked him how he could possibly attract African-American voters.
“I reach out to them because they are fellow Mississippians. I love them,” McDaniel said. “They’re my friends. They’re my neighbors. They’re who I went to school with. They’re who I played basketball with. They’re wonderful human beings.”
“I reject racism in all its forms,” McDaniel said.