Pressley fires back on Ramaswamy’s comments: ‘It is deeply offensive’
Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) hit back at GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy’s remarks toward her last week, when he compared the congresswoman to “grand wizards in the KKK.”
Pressley responded to Ramaswamy’s comments about her and progressive author Ibram X. Kendi on MSNBC’s “PoliticsNation” with host Rev. Al Sharpton on Sunday.
“Reverend Al, the verbal assault lobbied against myself and Dr. Kendi is shameful. It is deeply offensive. And it is dangerous,” she said. “It is not that long ago that we were besieged by images of white supremacists carrying tiki torches in Charlottesville. It was not that long ago that a white supremacist mob seized the Capitol, waving Confederate flags and erecting nooses on the West Lawn of the Capitol.”
Ramaswamy doubled down on his remarks toward Pressley on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, claiming that his assessment of her comments should spark an “open and honest” discussion.
“We all agree that the KKK was an awful organization. That is a toxic stain in our national history. So given that, we can start from that point of agreement. Now that allows us to say, well, who actually sounds more like that organization today? The people who are calling for more racial discrimination on the basis of skin color,” he said.
In her response, Pressley, who is Black, said she remains focused on pursuing racial justice in the U.S.
“In one of my childhood memories that is deeply embedded in that my own ancestors and living family members have been brutalized, lynched, raped by the Ku Klux Klan,” she told Sharpton. “I recall when my family member had moved into a predominantly white cul-de-sac in the ’80s when I was a child. And we had a cross burned in our lawn.”
“So, for me, as deeply shameful and offensive and dangerous as his words are, he is not occupying any real estate in my mind,” she continued. “I remain squarely focused on the work of undoing the centuries of harm that has precisely been done to Black Americans and charting a path of true restorative justice and racial justice forward.”
The remarks at the center of the issue came from a campaign event of Ramaswamy’s on Friday when he was responding to comments made by Pressley in 2019 in which she said: “We don’t want any more Black faces that don’t want to be a Black voice. We don’t want any more brown faces that don’t want to be a brown voice.”