State Republican leaders began speaking out forcefully Monday, rebuking state Rep. Karl Oliver’s use of hate speech in a Facebook post.
On Saturday, Oliver, R-Winona, wrote on Facebook that leadership of Louisiana “should be LYNCHED!” for removing Confederate monuments in New Orleans.
The post was removed around 11 a.m. Monday after Oliver emailed an apology to reporters.
“Rep. Oliver’s language is unacceptable and has no place in civil discourse,” Gov. Phil Bryant said in an email Monday morning.
House Speaker Phillip Gunn, R-Clinton, also condemned Oliver’s words in an emailed statement, writing “They do not reflect the views of the Republican party, the leadership of the House of Representatives or the House as a whole. Using the word “lynched” is inappropriate and offensive.”
Gunn’s spokeswoman Meg Annison told Mississippi Today that Gunn called Oliver and told him his comments were inappropriate, and expects he will issue a statement about the Facebook post later Monday.
“Rep. Oliver’s comments were offensive, do not represent the Mississippi Republican Party and have no place in our public discourse,” Mississippi Republican Party Chairman Joe Nosef said in a statement. “I hope he will quickly clear up his remarks to make his point without these inappropriate comments.”
Rep. John Read, R-Gautier, liked Oliver’s post when it was originally posted, but later unliked it. He said he doesn’t remember hitting the like button himself. When asked for a comment on the language in the post, Read said to talk to Oliver.
Rep. Doug McLeod, R-Lucedale also liked the post, but could not be reached for comment.
Rep. Toby Barker, R-Hattiesburg, criticized Oliver on Twitter.