In the week since New Jersey Republican House candidate Seth Grossman called diversity “a bunch of crap” and “un-American,” the National Republican Congressional Committee-endorsed candidate has doubled down on his anti-diversity rhetoric.
In a statement released earlier this week, Grossman announced his opposition to a new set of diversity initiatives the New Jersey Department of Law and Safety plans to enact, calling them a “mockery of the law” that will “put the public in great danger” because it could spark civil war.
“Our nation was founded in 1776 with the idea that we are all created equal and endowed by our creator with equal and unalienable rights,” he said. “If you want to know where this evil and un-American perversion of ‘diversity’ will take us, go to Afghanistan, Lebanon, or Syria. Those countries are divided into dozens of diverse groups with different languages, different religions, and different ethnic groups who hate each other, are afraid of each other and who kill each other.”
He then accused New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy of wanting to “turn New Jersey into Afghanistan” and suggested Murphy should slap the New Jersey Rutgers University basketball team — which has a predominantly African American roster of players — with similar “diversity quotas” and “see if it helps them win more games.”
“The greatness of America is not ‘diversity’ as virtue or end result. The greatness of America is overcoming diversity to create one united nation with single language, Constitution, and culture of liberty,” he said. “In our American culture of liberty and equal opportunity, we must judge, hire, promote, and reward everyone by his or her own talent, character, work, and achievement– not by checking off diversity boxes.”
By Wednesday, Grossman went as far as to claim that “diversity has a special dog whistle meaning” for Democrats like former President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In an op-ed in the Ocean City Sentinel, he bashed Affirmative Action as “un-American” and suggested allowing women to vote didn’t impact voter turnout.
“Until the Civil War, most adult men and women were married and considered themselves a single economic and social unit who made most decisions together,” he wrote. “’Progressives’ who expected radical change were surprised to see little or no change in election outcomes when women started voting.”
While maintaining his disdain for diversity in an interview with WHYY Radio, he did admit that he enjoys multiculturalism in one area of American life— his food choices.
“Of course, I love diversity,” he told WHYY on June 15. “I like to go to Chinese restaurants, Italian restaurants, Mexican restaurants, Vietnamese. I grew up in Atlantic City, probably the most multiracial, multicultural, multi-sexual-preference city in America, even back in the 1950s when I was growing up.”
Earlier this month, Grossman won a four-way primary to face Democrat Jeff Van Drew in November— a race seen as key to national Democrats’ plans to win back the House of Representatives. On June 6 — before a video of him calling diversity “a bunch of crap” in April was recorded and surfaced by American Bridge to the 21st Century — the NRCC announced its endorsement of the candidate.
Since then, the New Jersey GOP, a former adviser to Gov. Chris Christie and the NAACP have all condemned Grossman for his comments.
The NRCC did not respond to TPM’s request for comment on whether it still supports the candidate.
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