A state representative from Winona, Mississippi, issued an apology after making a post to Facebook suggesting Louisiana leaders who removed Confederate monuments should be lynched, reported The Clarion-Ledger.
In his post, Rep. Karl Oliver, R-Winona, wrote: “The destruction of these monuments, erected in the loving memory of our family and fellow Southern Americans, is both heinous and horrific. If the, and I use this term extremely loosely, “leadership” of Louisiana wishes to, in a Nazi-ish fashion, burn books or destroy historical monuments of OUR HISTORY, they should be LYNCHED! Let it be known, I will do all in my power to prevent this from happening in our State.”
Last Friday, the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee was the fourth and last Confederate monument in Louisiana to be removed. After seeing Oliver’s post, Mississippi State Sen. Derrick Simmons tweeted a screenshot with the caption, “Dear World: Meet #Mississippi state Rep. Karl Oliver.”
House Speaker Philip Gunn wrote an email condemning Oliver’s words.
“[These comments] do not reflect the views of the Republican Party, the leadership of the House of Representatives or the House as a whole,” Gunn said in an email, reported by Mississippi Today.
“Using the word ‘lynched’ is inappropriate and offensive,” Gunn continued. “We call on Rep. Oliver to apologize.”
After the post was shared and condemned by many politicians, Oliver wrote a statement saying:
“I, first and foremost, wish to extend this apology for any embarrassment I have caused to both my colleagues and fellow Mississippians. In an effort to express my passion for preserving all historical monuments, I acknowledge the word 'lynched' was wrong. I am very sorry. It is in no way, ever, an appropriate term. I deeply regret that I chose this word, and I do not condone the actions I referenced, nor do I believe them in my heart. I freely admit my choice of words was horribly wrong, and I humbly ask your forgiveness."
Although Oliver apologized, many politicians are not satisfied and believe a stricter punishment is necessary.
Rep. Sonya Williams-Barnesof Gulfport, chairwoman of the state Legislative Black Caucus, said Oliver’s apology "is not enough."
“Although lynching may not be the mindset of all the members of the Legislature, the support for maintaining Confederate monuments, the state flag, etc. exemplifies there is a mindset of continuing the daunting negative symbolism of Mississippi’s past," Williams-Barnes said in a written statement. "Therefore, changing the flag is a direct action of moving towards the right direction as a collective body ... If these comments are truly not the mindset of the body, then change the flag!”
Additionally, Sen. Sollie B. Norwood, D-Jackson, believes Oliver’s said what he meant in his original post.
"I think it's irresponsible for him to apologize for something he meant," Norwood said. "I think if the leadership in Mississippi state government wants to be responsible, they should join the call for Rep. Oliver's resignation."