Alex Constantine - July 18, 2010
Tea Party Express leader Mark Williams explains why the corporate-backed, far-right astroturf movement isn't racist: " ... Williams [wrote] that the Tea Party movement couldn't be racist because it opposed government bailouts for Wall Street banks and big corporations. 'Bailouts are just big money welfare and isn't that what we want all Coloreds to strive for?' the posting said. 'What kind of racist would want to end big money welfare? What they need to do is start handing the bail outs directly to ... coloreds!' ... "
(CNN) -- The National Tea Party Federation, an organization that represents the Tea Party political movement around the country, has expelled conservative commentator Mark Williams and his Tea Party Express because of an inflammatory blog post he wrote, federation spokesman David Webb said Sunday.
Appearing on the CBS program "Face the Nation," Webb said that Williams and the Tea Party Express -- which has held a series of events across the country to generate support for the movement -- no longer were part of the National Tea Party Federation.
"We, in the last 24 hours, have expelled Tea Party Express and Mark Williams from the National Tea Party Federation because of the letter that he wrote," Webb said of the blog post by Williams that satirized a fictional letter from what he called "Colored People" to President Abraham Lincoln.
Webb called the blog post "clearly offensive."
Williams wrote the blog post in response to a resolution by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) that called on Tea Party leaders to crack down on racist elements in the movement.
The NAACP, the nation's main group advocating civil rights for African Americans, cited signs carried at Tea Party events and racial slurs reportedly shouted at black congress members during an event as some examples of racism in the movement.
The announcement by Webb on a Sunday talk show demonstrated that the public outcry over the issue had resonated with the Tea Party movement, and indicated a possible split within its leadership.
On the same program, NAACP President Benjamin Jealous called for other Tea Party leaders besides Webb, who is African American, to come out against racist elements in the movement.
"Dear Mr. Lincoln," began the fictional letter posted by Williams. "We Coloreds have taken a vote and decided that we don't cotton to that whole emancipation thing. Freedom means having to work for real, think for ourselves, and take consequences along with the rewards. That is just far too much to ask of us Colored People and we demand that it stop!"
Williams went on to write that the Tea Party movement couldn't be racist because it opposed government bailouts for Wall Street banks and big corporations.
"Bailouts are just big money welfare and isn't that what we want all Coloreds to strive for?" the posting said. "What kind of racist would want to end big money welfare? What they need to do is start handing the bail outs directly to us coloreds!"
Williams, a conservative talk radio host, said the post was intended as satire. He took it down as criticism mounted.