- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 20, 2017

A Florida mayoral candidate’s racist tirade has gone viral after he told a group of activists to “go back to Africa” during a mayoral forum Tuesday.

Long-shot St. Petersburg mayoral candidate Paul Congemi made the comments while addressing rival Jesse Nevel, a white supporter of the socialist Uhuru Movement, which seeks slavery reparations for African-Americans.

“Mr. Nevel, you and your people, you talk about reparations,” Mr. Congemi said, according to video of the outburst. “The reparations that you talk about, Mr. Nevel, your people already got your reparations. Your reparations came in the form of a man named Barack Obama.”

The comment elicited outrage from the audience, with one woman screaming, “Get out of here!”

Mr. Congemi continued, “My advice to you, my advice to you, if you don’t like it here in America, planes leave every hour from Tampa Airport. Go back to Africa, go back to Africa. Go back.”

Others could be heard dismissing Mr. Congemi as a “non-factor” in the mayoral race.

Mayor Rick Kriseman, who is running for reelection, later condemned Mr. Congemi’s “bigoted rhetoric” but said he regretted not speaking up during the forum, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

Mr. Nevel issued a statement Wednesday slamming the Democratic mayor and his Republican challenger, Rick Baker, as “big money establishment candidates” who side with Mr. Congemi on the issue of reparations.

Mr. Nevel is the national chair of the Uhuru Solidarity Movement, which consists of white members who work directly under the leadership of the African People’s Socialist Party.

Mr. Congemi told the Tampa Bay Times in an emailed statement that his comments were directed at Mr. Nevel’s group specifically, not as an attack on all black people.

“Yes: I did tell those people to go back to Africa,” he said. “My remark was meant for the group Mr. Nevel represents. Not all African Americans. Just those that Nevel represents.”

Mr. Congemi, who will appear on the ballot as Paul “The Truth” Congemi, most recently polled at a paltry 3 percent, the Tampa Bay Times reported. It’s his third run for mayor.

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