An Alabama Republican congressman said Wednesday that “everyone has some racist in them,” pushing back on GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley’s assertion that the U.S. has never been a racist country.
Rep. Jerry Carl made the remarks during a GOP primary debate against fellow Rep. Barry Moore. The two congressmen are squaring off against each other in Alabama’s March 5 primary after redistricting in the state overlapped their current congressional districts. A federal court ordered Alabama last year to adopt a new congressional map with a second Black opportunity district.
“I used to work a lot with ministers, and I had some very private conversations. Everyone has some type of racist in them,” Carl said.
“My mother, who [after] Pearl Harbor — she couldn’t stand the Japanese. She couldn’t stand them. And it used to just eat her from the inside out. So it’s there,” he added.
Carl followed up on his comments in a statement Thursday.
“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,” he said. “The far left wants to divide us on race with ANTIFA and Black Lives Matter, and Barry Moore does it by voting to keep CRT [critical race theory] in our military."
"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," he added about the court's decision, which is expected to give Democrats an extra congressional seat in the state.
Haley made her comments about racism in an interview with Fox News last week.
“We’re not a racist country. … We’ve never been a racist country,” she said. “Our goal is to make sure that today is better than yesterday. Are we perfect? No. But our goal is to always make sure we try and be more perfect every day that we can.”
Carl is currently serving his second term in Congress. He objected to certifying the 2020 election on Jan. 6, 2021.
A few months after his first election, Carl asserted that Congress is racist.
“I mean, that’s the most racist bunch of people that I serve with in Washington I have ever witnessed in my life,” he said on a Mobile, Alabama, talk show at the time. “I thought I understood racism until I came and joined Congress. I live it. I see it.”