Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) isn’t sorry for calling Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas an “Uncle Tom.”
In an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash, Thompson, who made the remarks in an appearance on the New Nation of Islam radio program, didn’t back down. Thompson stood by his decision to call Thomas an “Uncle Tom.”
Here’s the exchange between Bash and Thompson:
Bash: When you said Clarence Thomas was an “Uncle Tom,” what did you mean by that?
Thompson: “Well if you look at his decisions on the court, they have been adverse to the minority community, and the people I represent have a real issue with an African American not being sensible to those issues.”
Bash: Isn’t that a racially charged term?
Thompson: “For some it is, but to others it’s the truth.”
Bash: Because looking at that and hearing that kind of language, that certainly wouldn’t be appropriate if it was coming from somebody who was white.
Thompson: “But I’m black.”
Bash: That makes it OK?
Thompson: “I mean, you’re asking me the question, and I’m giving you a response. The people that I represent, for the most part, have a real issue with those decisions–voter ID, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act–all those issues are very important and for someone in the court who’s African American and not sensitive to that is a real problem.”
Thompson also addressed another comment he made in the same radio appearance, that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) opposition to President Barack Obama’s agenda was really a racist statement. The Mississippi congressman said that the comment itself was not racist but that it was based on Obama’s race. Here’s that exchange:
Bash: Were Mitch McConnell’s comments were racist?
Thompson: “It had nothing to with that. The comments are insensitive. To say to a president that you’re going to oppose anything that he puts out there is just totally…”
Bash: You think it was race based?
Thompson: “Well I’ve never heard him say it to any other president.”