A months-old remark from Alabama Senate Candidate Roy Moore is getting renewed attention heading into the home stretch of the campaign.
In September, Moore said he considered America to be “great” when slavery existed.
“I think it was great at the time when families were united — even though we had slavery — they cared for one another,” he said at a rally in Florence, Alabama, the Los Angeles Times reported on Sep. 21.
“Our families were strong, our country had a direction,” Moore said.
He added later: “There were problems. We had slavery. We’ve overcome slavery. We had prejudice. We still have prejudice, but we’ve turned the tide on civil rights.”
The Times reported Moore was responding to a question “from one of the only African Americans in the audience.”
The Times published audio of the remark on Twitter Friday:
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) December 8, 2017
The quote gained new attention following a tweet about it from former Obama administration official Eric Columbus. AL.com mentioned it in a report on Moore on Dec. 7.
— Eric Columbus (@EricColumbus) December 7, 2017
The comment appears to have escaped the scrutiny of major news outlets amid a wave of jarring remarks from the then-Republican primary candidate. The biggest story out of that event was Moore lamenting divisions between “reds and yellows” — that is, Native Americans and Asian Americans.
If it’s shocking to hear Moore’s nostalgia for the times of chattel slavery — which required the violent separation of millions of families — the Senate candidate hasn’t been shy about such positions.
In November, Moore made a point to mention in an interview that Alabamians “stand for their rights […] whether it’s the Civil War conflict, or whether it’s the Civil Rights conflict.”
The same month, Moore complained of the “new rights” created in 1965.
One of the most generous funders of Moore’s political and non-profit efforts is Michael Anthony Peroutka, a Confederate sympathizer. Moore’s Foundation for Moral Law hosted the League of the South’s annual “Secession Day” event in 2009 and 2010, CNN reported.
Editor’s Note: The headline has been changed and this piece has been updated after hearing audio from the Moore event