The campaign arm of the House GOP is crying foul over a Democratic congressman’s attempt to raise money by likening the tea party to the Ku Klux Klan.
Matt Gorman, spokesman for the National Republican Campaign Committee, said that Florida Rep. Alan Grayson crossed a line this week when he sent out a fundraising that said “the tea party is no more popular than the Klan” following the 16-day government shutdown.
The fundraising email also featured the a burning cross, which makes up first letter of the tea party name in the image, and two white hooded figures in the distance.
“Now You Know What the ‘T’ stands for,” the caption says under the image.
“There’s no excuse for the hateful words and imagery used by Congressman Grayson,” Mr. Gorman said in an email. “House Democrats should swiftly and strongly condemn him and return the money he has raised for them. This hate-filled rhetoric has Americans fed up with Washington.”
Mr. Grayson, though, signaled Tuesday that he has no intention of apologizing for the fundraising email.
He said tea party activists have engaged in “relentless racist attacks against our African-American president” — including waving signs and posters that have read “Kenyan Go Home,” “Imam Obama Wants to Ban Pork” and “The Zoo Has An African Lion, and the White House has a Lyin’ African.”
“Tea party members have circulated countless altered pictures depicting President Obama and the first lady as monkeys,” Mr. Grayson said, accusing tea party adherents of also using racist or homophobic slurs to refer to black or gay members of Congress.
“One could go on and on, because there is overwhelming evidence that the tea party is the home of bigotry and discrimination in America today, just as the KKK was for an earlier generation,” Mr. Grayson said. “If the shoe fits, wear it.”
In his fundraising email, Mr. Grayson also highlights an interview he did with the Rev. Al Sharpton, in which he said that “ordinary Americans” support President Obama and are “appalled by the tea party’s tactics.”
“They are appalled by the way the tea party cheered on the shutting down of the government, cheered at the fact that we put our credit at risk for a generation to come,” Mr. Grayson said. “And they’re appalled by the enormous expense — the fact that this temporary shutdown ended up costing America $24 billion. That’s almost $100 for every man, woman, and child in this country. Frankly, they want their money back, and the tea party out of their lives.”