Jack Hunter, a member of Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul’s staff, has expressed support for John Wilkes Booth, Abraham Lincoln’s assassin, and claimed “diversity” is code for “not white.”
Hunter, who serves as Paul’s director of new media and was the co-writer of Paul’s 2011 book The Tea Party Goes to Washington, has come under increased scrutiny now that some of his more controversial comments and writings have come to light.
“The Southern Avenger”
Hunter coined the moniker “The Southern Avenger” for himself back in 1999, after he got his start in radio, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
He once claimed that “John Wilkes Booth‘s heart was in the right place” and “Lincoln’s murder automatically turned him into a martyr.”
He later said that he raises a “personal toast every May 10 to celebrate John Wilkes Booth’s birthday.”
Hunter also repeatedly donned a Confederate flag mask for public appearances during his radio career, which lasted up until last year.
In 2004, he wrote a post entitled “Are White People Out of Style?” in which he claims white people are “not afforded the same right to celebrate their own cultural identity,” and that “anything that is considered ‘too white’ is immediately suspect.”
“The term ‘diversity’ has become nothing more than a codeword for ‘not white,’ and it’s a shame that just because we have fair skin, we are always denied fair treatment,” Hunter said.
In a piece written in 2007, Hunter discussed race in education:
There is an automatic assumption by many black Americans these days, that institutional racism must be the reason for any and all racial disparities, in this case, school suspension and expulsion rates. But could it be possible that black kids simply act-a-fool more than white kids?
Views have changed
Moira Bagley, a spokesperson for Sen. Rand Paul, said in a statement to the Washington Free Beacon: “Sen. Paul holds his staff to a standard that includes treating every individual with equal protection and respect, without exception.”
Hunter took to his website, SouthernAvenger.com, to release a statement in response to the recent stories, saying the “article that brought my not-very-hidden radio pundit background to light does not accurately reflect me or my full, or true, views.”
In his statement, Hunter said that he is “embarrassed by some of the comments I made precisely because they do not represent me today.”
He links to other pieces he has written when he said, “I have also written columns over the years promoting African-American history and politics, and many other writings that tell a far different story than what the headlines portray today.”
On MSNBC’s All In With Chris Hayes, Hayes took a moment and look at Rand Paul’s history with racism. He called them “three white supremacist strikes.”
“Strike one was in 2009, when Rand Paul’s Senate campaign spokesperson was forced to resign over a horribly racist comment and historical image of a lynching, I’m not making that up, posted by a friend on his MySpace wall.”
Hayes says strike two happened when Rand Paul “went on the Rachel Maddow Show saying he ‘didn’t much like the Civil Rights Act.'”
“‘Southern Avenger’ on the senator’s staff, well Rand Paul I’m sorry. That’s three racist strikes.”
Follow Carrie Healey on Twitter @CarrieHeals.