After Mississippi lawmakers criticized Republican state Rep. Gene Alday’s remarks about “welfare crazy checks” for blacks, Alday insisted that his remarks were taken out of context.
“I’m not a bad person, and that makes me look like an evil person,” Alday (pictured right) told the Clarion-Ledger on Monday about his previous interview with the paper. “I didn’t do anything wrong. The guy made me look like a fool.”
During an interview with the Clarion-Ledger about education funding in Mississippi, Alday referenced welfare and his beliefs about its impact.
“I come from a town where all the blacks are getting food stamps and what I call ‘welfare crazy checks.’ They don’t work,” he said in the interview published Sunday.
He also complained about a recent visit to the emergency room.
“I laid in there for hours because they (blacks) were in there being treated for gunshots,” Alday said.
Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers in Mississippi have condemned Alday’s remarks, the Clarion-Ledger reported on Monday.
“Rep. Alday is solely responsible for his remarks,” Gov. Phil Bryant (R) said. “I strongly reject his comments condemning any Mississippian because of their race. Those day are long past.”
But Alday said he would not resign from his seat and instead blamed his comments on Clarion-Ledger reporter Jerry Mitchell. The lawmaker said he wouldn’t have made the remarks if he had realized they would be included in the article.
“It was late at night and he called me,” Alday said. “He asked me a question back to when I was in law enforcement … I have a way of talking and saying, ‘take this off the record.'”
He added that the reporter did not include Alday’s attempts to help black members of his community.
“Yes, it’s true that most of the blacks in my hometown are on welfare,” Alday said. “But they’re good people. I don’t have anything against anybody. I’m a straight-up guy. In my little town they had little civil rights walks and I was with them. I’m with everybody.”
Mitchell said that he used the full context when reporting on his interview with Alday and that the lawmaker began talking about race on his own.