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GOP rep. said blacks have 'entitlement mentality'

GOP congressman Jason Lewis (R-MN) said "blacks" have "entitlement mentality" and view themselves as victims. Lewis made those comments on "The Jason Lewis Show," a syndicated radio program Lewis hosted from 2009 until 2014 with the tagline "America's Mr. Right."

Posted: Jul 23, 2018 5:33 AM
Updated: Jul 23, 2018 5:46 AM

Republican Rep. Jason Lewis has a long history of racist rhetoric about African-Americans, pushing claims of a "racial war" by blacks on whites and arguing that violence regularly occurs at black gatherings. He also frequently claimed that black people have an "entitlement mentality" and viewed themselves as victims.

Lewis made those comments on "The Jason Lewis Show," a syndicated radio program Lewis hosted from 2009 until 2014 with the tagline "America's Mr. Right." CNN's KFile obtained five months of audio from Michael Brodkorb, the former deputy chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota. Brodkorb, who is currently a columnist for the MinnPost and works in public affairs, initially reported on several comments from Lewis in 2016. KFile contacted Brodkorb to request the raw audio files of Lewis' show, which he provided.

CNN's KFile reported on Wednesday that Lewis made a large number of deeply misogynistic comments on the show, including one monologue in which he lamented not being able to call women "sluts" anymore.

Narrowly elected to represent Minnesota's 2nd District in 2016, Lewis is now considered one of the most endangered House Republicans in the midterm election. CNN rates the race as a "toss up," the most competitive designation.

In a statement to CNN on Friday, Lewis' office said highlighting the congressman's past statements amounted to "an orchestrated attempt at making anyone who supports reducing illegitimacy or crime in minority communities, Voter ID laws and work requirements for public assistance back off their public policy positions."

On his radio show in 2012, Lewis, who has described himself as libertarian Republican, regularly expressed a belief that African-Americans had an "entitlement mentality," leading to violence in the community.

"There's a cultural problem in the African-American community that is leading to this. The entitlement mentality," Lewis said in December 2012. "You're a victim. It's OK to hate women, beat up women. It's OK to hate gays. All this, we're just sort of feeding this to people who are very lost because of the breakdown of society to begin with."

That same month, Lewis added the welfare state has in some ways been worse for the black community than Jim Crow, calling black people "addicted" to government programs.

"What the welfare state has done to the black community, a hundred years of racism could not do," he said. "A hundred years of racism could not break it up, it could not destroy black families. Jim Crow could not do it. But what dependency has done, is has caused unwanted pregnancy, illegitimacy. It has told young black males that they are dispensable, they don't need to hang around when mom needs support or whatever and it has destroyed -- and not just black communities, but any urban community, and so what you've got here is now they're addicted. Large swaths of Hispanic communities, black communities are addicted to these, these subsidies."

Lewis also asserted on an August 2012 broadcast that there tended to be trouble at black social gatherings -- and that the same could not be said about other social groups.

"I happen to think actually that the modern welfare state has really devastated African-American communities, minority communities by making certain that young black males are raised by one parent, not holding fathers accountable," he said. "You've added sort of gasoline to the fire of poverty. Now you've got young men with no way to express themselves in a proper way, so violence begets violence and the cycle keeps going on and on and on."

He went on to say, "You simply can't say the same thing about other groups. But when there is a festival, a gathering, call it what you will -- June ninth, Juneteenth or urban weekend in Miami Beach or Myrtle Beach and Indianapolis. When there is a predominantly black festival, there's trouble."

Earlier that year in March, Lewis made a similar point in saying that "whitey" did not riot over OJ Simpson's acquittal.

"Where were the throngs of lily white people in their Lacoste tennis shoes when OJ Simpson got off and everybody knew the man was guilty?" added Lewis. "I'm not speaking out of turn. Isn't he in jail right about now or was? But regardless, where were the protests? Where was whitey going, 'no justice, no peace.' The Goldman family was outraged. They held some interviews. There wasn't a threat to community violence or civil disobedience. Why not? That was a travesty of the criminal justice system. That was a joke. OJ didn't even have a jury of his peers."

"I can guarantee you why these murder rates are going up in these cities and it's urban violence. It's predominantly minority on minority, but where's the protest over that?" added Lewis.

On the same broadcast, Lewis cited the book "White Girl Bleed A Lot" by far-right commentator Colin Flaherty, also the author of the book, "Don't Make the Black Kids Angry." The congressman used Flaherty's book to support his theory that white people are "the real victims of racial violence."

"Racial violence is all the media rage, but the elephant in the living room is they have it wrong. The real victims of most racial violence are not are not members of the minorities in America. They are white people," the Minnesota congressman said. "Unfortunately, and this is documented fairly well in this new book, White Girl Bleed A Lot, The Return of Racial Violence, the author Colin Flaherty, an award-winning journalist based out east, as you have heard now."

Lewis went on to say that the book was "not something that's easy to stomach, because it is a tragic tale of more flash mobs, of more black-on-white violence, of more racial hatred and it's not being reported except here."

Some reviewers called the book's portrayal of the frequency of black-on-white crime misleading and accused it of inciting racism against black teenagers.

According to Bureau of Justice statistics, the rates of black-on-white violent crime and white-on-black crime between the years 2012 and 2015 were extremely similar, with the former being 3.1 per 1,000 white people and the latter being 2.8 per 1,000 black people. For the vast majority of violent crimes during those years, the victim and offender were of the same race.

"If you're trying to suggest that that somehow I've got these horrible attitudes or because you were engaged in a provocative radio talk show, even though your record in Congress is very mainstream -- Gov Track, puts me as a moderate," Lewis told CNN's KFile on Friday. "I'm working with (Democratic Rep.) Bobby Scott on criminal justice reform. I wrote a number of op-eds over the years questioning the efficacy of the drug war and specifically citing its impact on minority communities. My actual record is, is fairly clear. So when you take a quote in the context of a rhetorical discussion and put it in a headline that's even worse -- I do think that's out of context."

During his radio career, Lewis repeatedly returned to the subject of black-on-white crime, warning in December 2012 of a "racial war."

"Another thing the media is ignoring that's the return of race riots in America, in Chicago, in Philadelphia, and all across the fruited plain, there is a racial war going on," he said. "Remember when we interviewed Colin Flaherty, author of a White Girl Bleed A Lot, where he documents, from Minneapolis to Portland to Miami to Philadelphia, the violent racial crime that's going on, and most of it black on white, but the media choose to ignore that as well. Now, no one can discount the horrible legacy of slavery. No one can discount the sin of America's past -- but the chances today, and I want to be clear about this, I know it's provocative, but I want to be clear -- the chances today of a gang of KKK members beating up a black kid are remote compared to the opposite. A gang of black on white crime."

"None of them are being reported by the mainstream media," he would add. "No left wing violence whatsoever, no aggrieved victim violence. You know the usual victim groups, gays, minority members, union members, the poor you name. They're next to godliness. Now, nobody wants to trade places with people who are impoverished, but that doesn't countenance violence and it's happening all over the country and nobody's reporting on it."

Lewis had previously warned of a potential "race war" in April 2012 after the shooting of Trayvon Martin. On that show, the congressman argued that "overreaction" to the shooting "by the civil rights establishment," such as Al Sharpton, had brought the country to the "verge of a race war." He then went on to say that the opposition of Sharpton and others to stricter voter ID laws was "the same sort of hyperventilation that has brought Florida to the edge of a race war."

"You've got to have a photo ID to get on an airplane, you've got to have a photo ID to take a college test, you've got to have a photo ID to cash a check and yet (then-US Attorney General) Eric Holder is rejecting the Texas voter identification laws. He's stopping the South Carolina voter identification laws. Why?" Lewis said.

"Because he and (Jesse) Jackson and Sharpton are once again bringing out the race card in photo ID--saying what? Saying that having a photo ID requirement at the polls is inherently -- are you ready?--racist. Now this is the same sort of stretch, this is the same sort of hyperventilation that has brought Florida to the edge of a race war and now it's coming from the white side as well as the black side, tragically. Extremists on both sides."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 265146

Reported Deaths: 5777
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17807191
Hinds16967332
Harrison14298204
Rankin11280221
Jackson10976190
Lee9088145
Madison8619169
Jones6782118
Forrest6236124
Lauderdale6128192
Lowndes5564120
Lafayette5229101
Lamar507465
Washington4951125
Bolivar4149109
Oktibbeha409482
Panola388281
Pontotoc378560
Warren3698103
Monroe3693110
Marshall358570
Union357764
Pearl River3508106
Neshoba3499154
Leflore3122109
Lincoln307688
Hancock296362
Sunflower293075
Tate281162
Alcorn273554
Pike271081
Itawamba270063
Scott260849
Yazoo257156
Prentiss254554
Coahoma251555
Copiah250749
Tippah250150
Simpson243872
Leake238467
Marion225973
Grenada224272
Covington222473
Adams215371
Wayne215034
Winston207771
George204839
Newton200046
Attala197464
Tishomingo195661
Chickasaw189644
Jasper182538
Holmes172268
Clay167537
Tallahatchie157535
Stone152925
Clarke148662
Calhoun141822
Smith130726
Yalobusha123835
Walthall115037
Greene114529
Noxubee114126
Montgomery112736
Lawrence107617
Carroll106922
Perry105331
Amite102426
Webster97424
Claiborne89725
Tunica89321
Jefferson Davis88930
Benton86523
Humphreys84824
Kemper81020
Quitman7149
Franklin70717
Choctaw63813
Wilkinson59925
Jefferson57121
Sharkey45717
Issaquena1606
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 443009

Reported Deaths: 6662
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson649101007
Mobile31746574
Madison28413217
Tuscaloosa21566275
Montgomery20088332
Shelby19452132
Baldwin17333189
Lee13261107
Morgan12678142
Etowah12141181
Calhoun11555206
Marshall10487123
Houston9031164
Limestone838181
Cullman8296124
Elmore8243110
Lauderdale7946107
DeKalb7900107
St. Clair7876130
Talladega6523112
Walker6050183
Jackson603245
Colbert558194
Blount548586
Autauga540762
Coffee466964
Dale412785
Franklin377550
Russell358415
Chilton346873
Covington340880
Escambia339244
Tallapoosa3163109
Dallas313696
Chambers305470
Clarke303336
Pike265231
Lawrence255855
Marion254661
Winston234742
Bibb222948
Geneva213047
Marengo210531
Pickens200431
Hale186144
Barbour183438
Fayette178829
Butler174860
Cherokee166031
Henry160025
Monroe152621
Randolph146636
Washington142727
Clay130746
Crenshaw124845
Macon122837
Cleburne122125
Lamar120622
Lowndes116836
Wilcox108322
Bullock104628
Perry100518
Conecuh98022
Sumter90627
Greene77923
Coosa64018
Choctaw52124
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