Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) is attacking Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) for linking conservative Tea Party activists to the Ku Klux Klan.
Jackson Lee, according to several press accounts, recently told an
NAACP conference that, “All those who wore sheets a long time ago have
now lifted them off” and are identifying with the Tea Party.
Bachmann – a popular figure among Tea Party activists – criticized Jackson Lee’s comments in a Fox News interview Friday.
“Here you have a member of Congress saying that mainstream America, God fearing freedom loving patriots who object to this out of control spending, now they are part of the KKK?” Bachman said. “That's essentially what she is saying. I don't [know] any more of a worse smear that you could possibly have.”
The comments by Bachmann, who is seeking to form a House Tea Party Caucus, are the latest in a simmering debate about the extent of racism within the Tea Party.
NAACP delegates passed a resolution July 13 at their conference in
Kansas City calling on the Tea Party to repudiate racist elements
within its ranks.
“The resolution came after a year of high-profile media coverage of attendees of Tea Party marches using vile, antagonistic racial slurs & images. In March, respected members of the Congressional Black Caucus reported that racial epithets were hurled at them as they passed by a Washington, DC health care protest,” the civil rights group noted on its blog July 13, with photos of racist protesters accompanying the text.
But a number of prominent Republicans, including Republican National
Committee Chairman Michael Steele and Sarah Palin, attacked the
“I am saddened by the NAACP’s claim that patriotic Americans who stand
up for the United States of America’s Constitutional rights are
somehow ‘racists.’” Palin wrote on her Facebook page.