Nevada Tea Party Republican Lawmaker Jim Wheeler: ‘I’d Bring Back Slavery’
Jim Wheeler, a Tea Party Republican state assemblyman from Gardnerville, 16 miles (26 km) south of the capital Carson City, said he’d vote in favor of legislation to enslave black Americans if that’s what the voters of his district wanted. Addressing an audience of Storey County Republicans in August, Wheeler said:
“If that’s what they wanted, I’d have to hold my nose, I’d have to bite my tongue and they’d probably have to hold a gun to my head, but yeah, if that’s what the citizens, if that’s what the constituency wants that elected me, that’s what they elected me for. That’s what a republic is about. You elected a person for your district to do your wants and wishes, not the wants and wishes of a special interest, not his own wants and wishes, yours.”
The Las Vegas Sun reports Wheeler is blaming “liberal” operatives for trying to frame him for the remarks he made. When contacted by the Sun, the assemblyman said he wouldn’t actually support slavery and that he was only trying to make a point about his mandate to represent the will of his constituency.
“That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard,” Wheeler said in reference to his own commentary. “I don’t care if every constituent… wanted slavery, I wouldn’t vote for it. That’s ridiculous.”
Wheeler has also published an apology statement titled “Jim Wheeler- Explaination” (sic) on his website. It begins:
The media is having a good time with a clearly facetious statement I made in a town hall meeting earlier this year. They’re attempting to spin an extreme example I used about supporting my constituents to accuse me of being racist. Anybody that knows me knows that’s absurd, and anyone that views the comments in context understands that the whole point of the example is that racism of any kind is something that I find completely unacceptable.
The Associated Press reports Nevada’s Republican governor, Brian Sandoval, condemned Wheeler’s comments, calling them “deeply offensive.”
Nevada Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson (R-Henderson) tweeted that Wheeler’s remarks were “outrageous, embarrassing and just plain sad.”
“It’s time for Jim Wheeler to find a new line of work,” the Republican added.