Republican Mississippi state Rep. Gene Alday (pictured) is backtracking on an interview that was published by a local paper where he allegedly made incendiary and blanketed racist comments about the black population in his small town. Alday reportedly stated that “all the blacks ” in his district get “welfare crazy checks” because “they don’t work,” according to The Clarion-Ledger.
In a previously published Sunday Clarion-Ledger article, Alday, who was a police chief and mayor of the DeSoto County town of Walls before winning a seat in the legislature more than three years ago, defended his comments saying they were made off-the-cuff, taken out of context and that he did not mean to malign a race of people. “I’m not a bad person, and that makes me look like an evil person,” Alday told The Clarion-Ledger Monday. “I didn’t do anything wrong. The guy made me look like a fool.”
Alday also reportedly claimed in the original newspaper interview that when he took ill some time ago and visited a local hospital emergency room, “I liked to died. I laid in there for hours because they (blacks) were in there being treated for gunshots.”
Since the first article was published, there have been cries for Alday’s resignation from people throughout the state. A spokesman for Republican House Speaker Philip Gunn and Gov. Phil Bryant both issued public statements on Monday that disassociate Alday’s alleged comments with the GOP’s ideologies.
“Rep. Alday is solely responsible for his remarks,” Gov. Bryant said. “I strongly reject his comments condemning any Mississippian because of their race. Those days are long past.”
“I condemn the comments recently made by Rep. Gene Alday,” Gunn remarked. “They do not reflect the views of the Republican party, nor of the leadership of the House of Representatives.”
Democratic leaders also let their disappointment be known about Alday’s statements, which are reminiscent of a time in the not-too-distant past of vehement racial prejudice against blacks in the south. State Rep. Chuck Espy, a Democrat, released a statement according to The Clarion-Ledger.
Espy said the House Republican leadership, “should take responsibility” for what its members say “including messages that are reprehensible and divisive. We should lambaste Alday, and also check those whom allow him the opportunity to speak. … The abhorrent rhetoric is intended to galvanize an old base. However, even those in his district are more sophisticated than to be seduced by such obsolete vitriol.”
Meanwhile, Alday reportedly rejected calls for his resignation and plans to seek yet another term in political office.