Georgia Republican Congressman Nathan Deal, who is running to be the next governor of his state, found himself floundering Monday to apologize after referring to a major chunk of his constituents as “ghetto grandmothers.”
Speaking to a breakfast meeting of Cherokee County Republicans on Saturday, Deal spoke out in defense of legislation demanding proof of citizenship for federal and state health care benefits.
“We got all the complaints of the ghetto grandmothers who didn’t have birth certificates and all that,” he said at the gathering. “We wrote some very liberal language as to how you can verify it. My mother was born in 1906 and she didn’t have a birth certificate. They didn’t give birth certificates back then. But we got her one, because you can do it under the proper procedures of your state.”
Many Black leaders and voting-rights advocates have said that demanding a photo ID for voting or for obtaining health care merely denies certain people, particularly poor and Black residents, from benefits, because of the difficulty in obtaining government-issued certification of birth.
Once a videotape of Deal delivering the “ghetto grandmothers” comment hit the airwaves, Deal quickly issued a statement of apology. “I regret my choice of words and in no way meant to offend anyone,” he said.