Congressional members blast Republican Rep. Crane for ‘colored people’ remark

 “Rep. Eli Crane’s comment was unprofessional, insensitive and unbecoming of a member of the U.S. House of Representatives,” said Congressional Black Caucus Chairman, Steven Horsford.

Congressional members swiftly condemned Republican U.S. Rep. Eli Crane of Arizona for referring to Black Americans who serve in the military as “colored people.” 

On Friday, the freshman congressman told CBS News that he “misspoke.”

WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 28: U.S. Rep. Eli Crane (R-AZ) speaks at a press conference on the debt limit and the Freedom Caucus’s plan for spending reduction at the U.S. Capitol on March 28, 2023 in Washington, DC. The group of conservative Republicans is proposing making deep cuts to entitlement spending including repealing much of President Joe Biden’s signature Inflation Reduction Act. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

“Every one of us is made in the image of God and created equal,” said Crane.

During his weekly conference on Friday, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries told theGrio that Crane’s choice of words were an “unfortunate statement.”

“His words were taken down and that was the appropriate thing to happen,” said the New York congressman. 

In a joint statement, Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Chairman Steven Horsford, D-Nev., and other members of the CBC called Crane’s remarks “unprofessional, insensitive and unbecoming of a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.”

“It smacks of vestiges of racism,” the statement read, “proving that in 2023, we do not live in the color-blind society that Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Clarence Thomas claimed in their majority decision striking down affirmative action.”

Crane took to the House floor on Thursday to defend his amendment in the national defense bill when he referred to Black American service members as “colored people.” 

“My amendment has nothing to do with whether or not colored people or Black people can serve,” said Crane.

He continued: “It has nothing to do with the color of your skin…what we want to preserve and maintain is the fact that our military does not become a social experiment.”

Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, took to the podium and asked the presiding speaker to “scratch” Crane’s statements from the record.

“I would like to be recognized to have the words ‘colored people’ stricken from the record,” said an incensed Beatty.

“I find it offensive and very inappropriate. I am asking for unanimous consent to take down the words of referring to me or any of my colleagues as ‘colored people,’” she said.

Rep. Joyce Beatty CBC
(Credit: Rep. Joyce Beatty)

Crane replied, “Can I amend my comments to people of color?”

Beatty then asked the speaker again to have the words “stricken” from the record. “I didn’t ask for an amendment,” the congresswoman declared. 

The CBC called on Crane to apologize to Beatty and Black service members “who defend our country with their lives.”

“It may also be prudent for Rep. Crane to contact the diversity office within the House of Representatives,” the statement continued, “which has valuable resources for Members and staff who wish to learn more about the history of the word.”

Crane’s remark comes just days after Republican U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama appeared on CNN’s “The Source” with Kaitlan Collins and refused to outright call white nationalists racist, as theGrio previously reported.

Collins attempted to educate Tuberville of the true meaning of the term, telling him “a white nationalist is someone who agrees that the white race is superior to other races.”

Tuberville doubled down on his stance, but eventually walked back his statement the following day amid public blowback. 

Jeffries told reporters that some of colleagues want to turn back the hands of time.

“You have individuals in this country and across Congress…like George Santos and others who have outwardly expressed sympathy for white supremacy that want to turn back the clock,” he said.

Leader Jeffries vowed that Democrats, led by President Joe Biden, will continue to “move the country forward recognizing” that diversity “is one of America’s greatest strengths.”

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