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GOP congressman who calls himself 'person of color' defended discrimination by quoting MLK

Rep. Mike Kelly just added a new racial outburst to his bizarre history of similar comments.

By Oliver Willis - July 17, 2019
Rep. Mike Kelly

Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) said that Trump’s racist attack on four Democratic congresswomen was not racist, then took the defense to another level by declaring himself a “person of color” in an interview with Vice News Wednesday. Kelly is white.

“What people are saying is that it’s racist because it’s like telling a black person to go back to Africa,” the reporter said to Kelly.

“I think we’re going way beyond the pale right now,” Kelly replied. “They talk about people of color, I’m a person of color. … I’m white. I’m a white. I’m an Anglo-Saxon. People say things all the time, and I don’t get offended.”

The reporter then asked Kelly, “Has anyone ever told you to go back to your country?”

“Yeah, they have as a matter of fact,” Kelly replied. “Ireland.”

Vice News posted the audio of their interview with Kelly on Tuesday.


This isn’t the first time Kelly has made an insulting comment about race. Kelly has a long record of making insulting, inappropriate, or just plain bizarre comments about race.

1) Kelly accused President Obama of dividing the country on race

In 2013, Kelly accused President Barack Obama of being a “divider.”

“There’s nothing phonier than the words that have come out of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. about reuniting this country, bringing us together as a people. No, he’s not a uniter; he’s a divider. He divides us on race, he divides us on income,” he said.

2) Kelly accused Obama of running a “shadow government”

Echoing Trump’s “deep state” conspiracy theory, Kelly accused Obama in 2017 of operating a “shadow government” attempting to undermine the Trump presidency.

Speaking at Republican Party Lincoln Day dinner, Kelly said Obama continued to live in Washington, D.C., after Trump was sworn in to “to run a shadow government that is going to totally upset the new agenda.”

3) Kelly: “Stop talking about discrimination.”

Last year in a House debate about discrimination in auto lending, Kelly went after Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) for even bringing up the topic. Kelly’s background is from the used car industry, where he came under fire for selling cars under recall.

“We are trying to make sure that we are making America great, every day in every way,” he said. “And the best way to do that is to stop talking about discrimination and start talking about the nation.”

4) Kelly quoted Martin Luther King Jr. to defend discrimination

In an interview with Fox News, Kelly returned to the topic of discrimination in auto lending, this time referencing the iconic civil rights leader to defend the auto industry.

Referencing the “five Cs” used to determine creditworthiness, Kelly said, “None of those Cs, by the way, have anything to do with color.”

“The color of a person’s skin has nothing to do, but the content of their character does. That is Martin Luther King, not me,” he added.

5) Kelly: It’s un-American to say racism exists

Again defending the auto sales industry, Kelly whined to Fox News last May that Democrats brought up lending discrimination in Congress.

“I had 30 minutes of Democrats coming down and talking about how bad automobile people are because they discriminate against nonwhite buyers. I said that’s not America. We don’t talk about those things,” he told the outlet.

He went on to praise Trump for bringing the country together.

6) Kelly compared Obamacare to Pearl Harbor and 9/11

In a 2012 press conference, Kelly compared the birth control mandate that was part of the Affordable Care Act to a military or terrorist attack on America.

“I know in your mind you can think of the times America was attacked. One is December 7, that’s Pearl Harbor Day,” he said. “The other is September 11, and that’s the day the terrorists attacked. I want you to remember August 1, 2012, the attack on our religious freedom. That is a day that will live in infamy, along with those other dates.”

Kelly’s defense of Trump and his bizarre description of himself as a “person of color” is just the latest in a career filled with ill-informed outbursts.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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