Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) criticized state Rep. Sheila Butt (R) over her call for someone to create an “NAAWP” and noted that the state needs to “have more open conversations about race,” The Tennessean reported on Tuesday.
“My point in this whole thing has been: I honestly think we need to have more open conversations about race in Tennessee and in the country, too, for that matter,” Haslam said. “My first point would be Facebook’s not the place to do that. But I think there are some forums where that needs to happen.”
“Sheila will have to explain what she said and what she meant, and whether an apology is needed,” Haslam continued.
Haslam’s response to Butt’s comments came at an event at the University of Nashville, the paper reported. Butt has received criticism for a Facebook post she reportedly made in response to a letter by the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
In the letter, CAIR asked Republican presidential candidates to reject Islamophobia and beseeched them to appeal to Muslim-Americans.
Butt’s post, reportedly made in January, read:
It is time for a Council on Christian Relations and an NAAWP in this Country.
Butt hasn’t issued an apology for the reference to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, according to The Tennessean. However, she maintains that the “W” in “NAAWP” was meant to stand for “western” not “white,” despite allegations to the contrary, the paper reported.