Mark Williams, the former chairman and current spokesperson of Tea Party Express, went on MSNBC today to again deny that there is any racism in the tea party, and to bash the NAACP for daring to point out the obvious examples of bigotry within the movement. When host Tamron Hall asked why not “move forward” by condemning extremism in both camps, Williams instead pointed fingers, blaming all cases of racism on agent provocateurs Crash the Tea Party. Even more absurd, Williams said it is “impossible” for the tea party movement to contain racist elements:
HALL: Do we move forward by either side calling out extremism in their party? […]
WILLIAMS: It’s impossible — it’s impossible for there to be a racist element in the tea party, you don’t get it! The tea party is about human rights, it’s about the United States constitution. The United States constitution mankind’s foremost human rights document.
HALL: What about the signs of the president as an African with a bone in his nose? What is that? Is that about the constitution?
WILLIAMS: Those signs were brought by Crash the Tea party, the coalition of anti-tea party groups, google crashed the tea party. You will find it all there. … Buy my book!
Of course, as ThinkProgress has documented, Williams needs to look no farther than himself to know that it is not “impossible” for the tea party movement to contain racist elements. Moreover, William’s pathetic attempt to dismiss every single example of tea party racism as the work of Crash the Party is complete nonsense. If he took his own advice and googled Crash the Tea Party, he would see that the group didn’t even exist until April of this year — a year after racist and bigoted signs began appearing at tea party rallies. Beyond this, the counter-protesters never really materialized, and basic common sense should tell Williams that the group couldn’t possibly be responsible for every single racist sign.
Yesterday, NAACP president Benjamin Jealous called out tea party leaders, like Dick Armey, saying, “Dick we don’t think your racist, we’re just disappointed that you’re being silent in at the racism amongst your ranks.” A good place for Armey to break that silence would be with Williams.
Read more about racism in the tea party in today’s Progress Report.