Jorge Bonilla, the Republican challenger to Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), told Breitbart News on Tuesday that Grayson’s use of a burning cross, a reference to the Ku Klux Klan, in an effort to fundraise off an anti-Tea Party email is unseemly.
“The depiction of burning crosses in Congressman Alan Grayson’s most recent fundraising ask is despicable and needlessly hurtful to the many millions of families that still deal with the wounds of racial prejudice,” Bonilla said in an email. “Such times as these call for our elected officials to be uniters.”
“Unfortunately, Mr. Grayson is only interested in dividing us, and has no qualms in doing so on the backs of those who suffered the horrors of racial persecution,” he continued. “What’s worse, he does so for no other reason than to troll for donations for his reelection campaign. I call on House Democratic Leadership to condemn this vile and repulsive use of such imagery.”
The Republican National Committee (RNC) also ripped Grayson for the move. RNC spokesman Raffi Williams told Breitbart News that Democratic National Committee chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), President Barack Obama, and other Democrats should publicly denounce Grayson for the activity.
“It is amazing how the mainstream media continues to ignore how extreme the Democrat Party is. DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, President Obama and other Democrat leaders should denounce Rep. Grayson’s demagoguery,” Williams said in an email. “These kind of stunts are more focused on dividing Americans than they are on finding solutions that will empower Americans and should have no place in politics. It is our hope that Democrats across the country will do the right thing and denounce Rep. Grayson.”
Grayson’s use of the burning cross to attempt to defame the Tea Party movement is hardly the first time he has used inflammatory rhetoric in his political career. In 2009, Grayson came under fire for calling a female lobbyist a “K Street whore” and tried to argue that Republicans’ alternative plan to Obamacare was to hope uninsured and sick Americans “die quickly.”
When pressed about the email, according to Fox News’ Chad Pergram, Grayson doubled down on the move. “Rep Alan Grayson (D-FL) fundraising email likens tea party to KKK,” Pergram Tweeted. “When asked for comment, Grayson says tea party ‘is the home of bigotry.'”
Several black Republicans have stepped up to denounce Grayson’s rhetoric as well.
“Racial demagoguery by Democrats during a period where many Americans are still frightened by the jobless recovery and the depressing ‘new economic normal’ under the Obama Presidency only sells the worst of politics for fundraisers, not the promise of the American Dream for all across our diversity,” former GOP congressional candidate Lenny McAllister, a current political commentator, said. “Grayson’s email only sows toxic seeds of the past with only the promise of a bitter future to come.”
“That is why it is incumbent upon Republicans to lead this nation by winning policy battles that get Americans back to work,” he said. “We’ll let the Democrats keep their outdated tactics that continue our broken political system and fragile economic progress. Americans deserve a beacon of light for a better future for all, not a burning reminder of the worst of our past.”
“Rep. Alan Grayson has a history of making ill-conceived comments without being held fully accountable,” Nicholas Bailey, a black Republican who once served as the press secretary for the House Transportation Committee, said. “Rep. Grayson couldn’t fathom the pain this type of hate-filled imagery provokes. It’s appalling that he would attempt to evoke racial sentiments, and even worse that he’s exploiting emotions of the black community for money.”