Prominent Alabama Republicans Tuesday unequivocally denounced the Democrat-Reporter’s recent editorial advocating for the return of the Ku Klux Klan.
The editorial was written by the longtime publisher and editor of the newspaper, Goodloe Sutton, who then doubled down Monday by telling The Montgomery Advertiser the KKK “didn’t kill but a few people.”
Sutton added, “The Klan wasn’t violent until they needed to be.”
He also called for lynchings as his preferred method to “clean out D.C.”
In a statement, Governor Kay Ivey said, “There is no place for that kind of rhetoric in today’s society. Alabama has thankfully moved beyond that dark chapter in our past.”
“Comments like this do not reflect the views of our good people even though an isolated comment, such as this, is a reminder that there is still more work to be done,” she added.
Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) called Sutton’s words “disturbing, disgusting, and entirely unacceptable.”
“The rhetoric displayed by the Democrat-Reporter is disturbing, disgusting, and entirely unacceptable,” the senator emphasized. “I urge the newspaper to issue an apology and the publisher to resign from his duties. We cannot tolerate this sort of repulsive speech, particularly from our fourth estate.”
Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-1) remarked, “This shouldn’t be complicated: there is no place for bigotry, racism, and hatred like this. Not in Alabama, and not anywhere in the United States. Bottom line.”
Congressman Mike Rogers (AL-3) said, “This type of language is abhorrent and has no place in America today. Anyone that peddles such hate should not be in a position of influence.”
“I don’t know Mr. Sutton, and I’ve never read the Democrat-Reporter, but I do know that his views do not represent the beliefs most Alabamians hold today toward the Ku Klux Klan,” Congressman Robert Aderholt (AL-4) commented.
State Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) advised he was “disgusted” by Sutton’s words.
“There is no place for rhetoric of this type, I am disgusted and find Mr. Sutton’s words deeply disturbing,” he said. “I would ask that the Democrat-Reporter as well as Mr. Sutton issue an apology and call on Mr. Sutton to step down from his role immediately.”
Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan stated, “This editorial is repulsive. Anyone that has written or published such horrific diatribes, opinions or stories should be relieved of their duties. Shame on the individuals that believe this hateful and ignorant rhetoric is acceptable.”
Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) and Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-7) have also condemned Sutton’s editorial and related comments to The Montgomery Advertiser. They both called for his resignation from his family newspaper.
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn