An Alabama congressman said that he believes everyone “has some type of racist in them” during a debate in the state’s 1st Congressional District on Wednesday night.
The debate moderator asked Reps. Jerry Carl (R-Ala.) and Barry Moore (R-Ala.) if they agreed with GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley saying the U.S. has “never been a racist country” earlier this month. The two Alabama Republicans are vying to be the GOP nominee for Alabama’s 1st Congressional District after the state’s congressional maps were redrawn last year.
“Everyone has some racist in them of some type,” Carl answered. “I used to work a lot with ministers … and I had some very private conversations. Everyone has some type of racist in them. My mother through Pearl Harbor — she couldn’t stand the Japanese, she couldn’t stand it. And it used to just eat her from the inside out.”
He then went on to rail against how Alabama’s congressional maps were redrawn last year, suggesting that the maps should not be based on race. Federal judges approved a new congressional map for Alabama that maintains the state’s one Black-majority district and nearly adds a second one, which would boost Democrats’ chances for flipping a seat.
“I grew up in the 60s. I know what race, racial madness is. We’ve spent so much time getting away from it, and now we’ve got an election system [that] is dragging us right back in,” Carl said. “And Barry doesn’t want to be here. Jerry doesn’t want to be here. It should be where it was … should be the original districts and let us serve the people we’re serving.”
Carl clarified his remarks in a statement to The Hill on Thursday, suggesting that racism has been a part of the United States in its past.
“What I said is there’s been racism in America, and we need to do everything we can to eradicate it and stand united regardless of skin color. The far left wants to divide us on race with ANTIFA and Black Lives Matter, and Barry Moore does it by voting to keep [critical race theory] in our military,” he said in a statement.
“This district was drawn along racial lines, and I disagree with that because we need to look at people for who they are regardless of their skin color. Barry Moore compared opposing races to ants who have been thrown together, but we need to stand united as Americans to do what’s best for our country regardless of our race,” Carl added on Thursday.
Carl represents Alabama’s 1st Congressional District, and Moore currently represents the 2nd Congressional District, which was redrawn last year to be the almost Black-majority district.
Moore’s answer to the same question suggested that the Black Lives Matter movement and far-left antifa organizations are responsible for causing “division” in the country.
“So I think as a nation, we obviously have some issues, but the Civil Rights Movement and what Martin Luther King brought in our nation, the way we healed through that process is quite remarkable. Matter of fact, I think we’ve gotten to a point almost in this country that we didn’t see racism. And then Black Lives Matter and Antifa begin to divide us,” Moore said in his response.
Moore then went on to recount a story from his son about red and black ants in an aquarium in a science classroom.
“They were digging their tunnels and building their mounds and having their offspring until somebody shook [the] aquarium and then the red ants and the black ants turned on each other. We as a nation, better figure out who’s shaken our aquarium,” Moore said.
“Race needs to be a thing of the past. Healing needs to be a thing of the future,” he added.