In response to a demand for an apology from the Chief of the Cherokee Nation for the “downright racist” gestures of Brown supporters, including his staff, Senator Scott Brown Says He “Regrets” the “Unacceptable” Behavior of His Staff, reports the New York Times.
“Senator Brown has spoken to his entire staff – including the individuals involved in this unacceptable behavior – and issued them their one and only warning that this type of conduct will not be tolerated. As we enter the final stretch of this campaign, emotions are running high, and while Senator Brown can’t control everyone, he is encouraging both sides to act with respect. He regrets that members of his staff did not live up to the high standards that the people of Massachusetts expect and deserve.”
Why is he encouraging "both sides" to act with respect? No one from Elizabeth Warren's staff has been accused of racist gestures, or taunts.
Members of Senator Brown's Senate and campaign staffs are among those making "tomahawk chops" and shouting Indian war whoops to shout-down supporters of Elizabeth Warren, outside of a pub where he was making a campaign appearance. A second video emerged today showing the same "Indian war whoops" coming from the audience, at a campaign event earlier in the summer, when he Senator Brown spoke of Elizabeth Warren's claims of Native American ancestry. Senator Brown said nothing to discourage such shouts.
The primary Chief of the Cherokee Nation said earlier:
“The conduct of these individuals goes far beyond what is appropriate and proper in political discourse,” the chief, Bill John Baker, said in a statement. “The use of stereotypical ‘war whoop chants’ and ‘tomahawk chops’ are offensive and downright racist. It is those types of actions that perpetuate negative stereotypes and continue to minimize and degrade all native peoples.”
According to the NYT, one of those making the tomahawk gestures has been identified as one of Senator Brown's field coordinators, Brad Garnett. Another, is a lawyer who works in in Brown's office for constituent services.
Well, at least, Senator Brown has drawn a line in the sand and makes clear that if these openly racist taunts continue, he very well may do something about it.
Despite any tepid regrets Senator Brown may have about the behavior of his own staff, he charges that it is Elizabeth Warren who needs to apologize.
Senator Brown knows nothing about Elizabeth Warren's family history. Families have a lot of stories about their ancestry that get handed down generation to generation. I have a great grandmother who was apprantly a Creek Indian, from the Alabama - Florida region, though you couldn't tell by just looking at me.
Mr. Brown said Tuesday that he did not condone such behavior but added that Ms. Warren was the one who needed to apologize for claiming to be, as he phrased it at last week’s debate, “a person of color” which, he said, “clearly she is not.” As he put it on Tuesday when he said he would not apologize: “The apologies that need to be made and the offensiveness here is the fact that Professor Warren took advantage of a claim, to be somebody – a Native American — and using that for an advantage, a tactical advantage.”
Senator Brown should issue a stronger apology and take strong action with regard to these senior staff members. At the least, they should apologize, or be suspended.
6:54 PM PT: A small correction was made from "she" to "he" in the sentence implying that it was Elizabeth Warren who was speaking inside the Eire Pub, in Dorchester, MA, where the first video was shot, when it was in fact Senator Brown who was inside. Thanks to Barbie012360 for bringing this to my attention.
7:14 PM PT: Here's a link to the Daily Kos Act Blue Site to donate to Elizabeth Warren's campaign.
Perhaps, we can rally people here to send her some moral support during these last critical weeks of the campaign.