GOP lawmaker compares Arkansas gov, AG to Nazis

|
Entertainment,Food and Drink

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A Republican legislator in Arkansas under fire for writing that slavery may have been a "blessing in disguise" for African-Americans blasted the state's top Democrats in a letter published Thursday, comparing them to Nazis for criticizing him and two other GOP candidates for similarly controversial comments.

State Rep. Jon Hubbard blasted Gov. Mike Beebe and Attorney General Dustin McDaniel for criticizing him, Rep. Loy Mauch and House candidate Charlie Fuqua over their controversial writings. Hubbard called slavery a "blessing in disguise" in a 2009 book and wrote that African-Americans were better off than they would have been had they not been captured and shipped to the United States.

Fuqua advocated the deportation of all Muslims in a 2011 self-published book, and Mauch called Abraham Lincoln a war criminal in one of a series of letters to a newspaper dating back several years. Democrats and Republicans have called the comments offensive, and the state GOP has said the party will not further contribute to the three candidates.

"Does all of this political propaganda being put out by Gov. Mike Beebe, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel and others remind you, even a little bit, of how Hitler took control of the minds of the German people in the 1930s?" Hubbard, who did not immediately return a call Thursday, wrote in his letter to the Jonesboro Sun.

In the letter, Hubbard claimed that Bryan's Grill, a Batesville restaurant, canceled a Tuesday night fundraiser for Fuqua in response to threatened protests and Democrats' criticism of the three. Fuqua did not return a call Thursday morning.

"Regardless of one's political persuasion, this reeks of Nazi-style political intimidation, and it will grow totally out of control if allowed to run unchecked," Hubbard wrote. "Is this what we want here in Jonesboro, in Arkansas or in the United States of America?"

Frank Tripp, the restaurant's owner, said he canceled the event on Monday because he wasn't told that it was a political fundraiser. Tripp, who said he leans Republican, said he also was offended by Fuqua's writings but denied he was pressured to cancel the event.

"His views are just too radical for me," Tripp said. "For that gentleman to put things like that in print just blows my mind."

Beebe said he thought Hubbard's letter was inappropriate and said the lawmaker was trying to blame others for problems he caused with his own writings.

"He's the one who wrote all the stuff he wrote that's causing him problems now and revealing his feelings," Beebe told reporters at the state Capitol. "He's blaming me and others and comparing us to Nazis. That's enough. That's all you've got to say. Look at what he said."

McDaniel also criticized Hubbard for the letter.

"These types of rants are precisely why I believe he is not suited to serve in the General Assembly," he said in a statement released by his office.

Hubbard, who is running for re-election against Democrat Harold Copenhaver, has clashed before with Beebe and McDaniel. Hubbard last year accused the governor of playing political games after a House panel rejected his bill that would have banned most non-emergency state services to illegal immigrants. Hubbard also accused McDaniel last year of pandering to Hispanic voters by offering a version of his state website in Spanish.

A spokeswoman for the Arkansas Republican Party declined to comment on Hubbard's letter.

The comments have received attention as Republicans aim to win control of the Legislature for the first time since Reconstruction. GOP leaders are confident of the party's chances and have said they don't believe the writings will hurt their efforts to win control of the state House and Senate.

___

Andrew DeMillo can be reached at www.twitter.com/ademillo

View article comments Leave a comment