Few OK Congressmen React To Virginia Rally

Friday, August 18th 2017, 11:41 am
By: Grant Hermes

Only three members of Oklahoma’s delegation to the U.S. Congress addressed the racially motivated violence at a white supremacy rally held in Charlottesville, VA on Aug. 12.

Of Oklahoma’s seven delegates, Sen. James Lankford (R) and Reps. Steve Russell (R) and Tom Cole (R) sent out either formal statements on their official websites or informal statements on social media. Among them, Cole was the only one to specifically address the white nationalist groups behind rally that left one woman dead and 19 others injured.

In a post on Facebook, Cole called the rally deeply disturbing. “[R]acism, neo-Nazism and support for the Ku Klux Klan are never acceptable,” Cole wrote. “Such events are never acceptable and ought to be condemned unequivocally by every American.”

Neither Lankford nor Russell specifically called the white supremacy groups by name but did mention racial tensions.  Writing on Facebook, Russell quoted a passage of the bible emphasizing kindness in “[r]egarding racial protests” and “mankind’s hatred.”

On social media, Lankford wrote, “I'm incredibly grieved by the violence & hate that is taking place in Charlottesville… [t]he supremacy of any race over another is not only immoral, it's contradictory to our Constitution and the idea of America.”

In days following the rally, President Donald Trump was criticized by members of his own party for both his delayed response to the tragedy and an off-the-rails press conference held Tuesday. Lankford stopped short of naming the president by name but did subsequently tweet “Our words must not create confusion. The supremacy of any race is abhorrent, unAmerican & (sic) should be condemned by everyone. Full stop."

Sen. Jim Inhofe's (R), office issued a series of tweets:

Representatives MarkWayne Mullin (R) and Jim Bridenstine (R) did not issue any statements or reactions to the violence in Virginia nor Mr. Trump’s remarks.

Sen. Frank Lucas (R) issued the following statement after this article was first published:

The violence perpetrated by these racist, white supremacist organizations demands unequivocal and harsh condemnation. Their

behavior and rhetoric is un-American and not welcome in our communities.