Tea Party strikes back against Cohen comments

Rep. Steve Cohen
Rep. Steve Cohen

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Members of the Mid-South Tea Party struck back Monday against Rep. Steve Cohen after comments he made during a political talk show.

Cohen's comments came late last week on the Young Turks Radio Show.

"The Tea Party people are kind of, without robes and hoods, they have really shown a very hardcore angry side of America that is against any type of diversity. And we saw opposition to African Americans, hostility toward gays, hostility to anybody who wasn't just, you know, a clone of George Wallace's fan club. And I'm afraid they've taken over the Republican Party," Cohen said on the show.

Monday afternoon, about a dozen members of the Mid-South Tea Party rallied outside the federal building in Memphis to protest Cohen's comments that the Tea Party has shown an angry side of America towards African Americans and gays.

"The Mid-South Tea Party does not condone or participate in racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, the Ku Klux Klan or Neo-Naziism," said the Tea Party's Mark Herr.

By phone, Cohen said his comments were in response to Tea Partiers spitting at Congressman John Lewis.

"Three weeks ago on a civil rights pilgrimage was spat upon and called the 'N-word' by some people in the group who were protesting at the Capitol," he said.

Cohen said they also spat at fellow Congressman Emmanuel Cleaver.

"Nobody from the Tea Party group came out and repudiated the spitting, the N-word calling, or the other things that they said," Cohen said.

"He's proven himself to be a bold-faced lying hypocrite," Janes said.

Janes, who claims he was there, said the chants were all against health care reform.

"And the only N-word I heard was 'no,' as in 'vote no,'" he said.

Cohen said he should not have lumped everyone in the Tea Party into one way of thinking.

Meanwhile, Tea Party organizers blame the media as the reason they only have three African American members in their group in the Mid-South.  Organizers said the media has painted a bad picture of the Tea Party.

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