Georgia House Speaker David Ralston has remained silent as Rep. Tommy Benton bounces from one news outlet to another defending the Ku Klux Klan as “not so much a racist thing” and just a harmless vigilante group that “made a lot of people straighten up.”
While it’s up to voters in Rep. Benton’s Jefferson district whether or not his neo-Confederate views represent them, it’s squarely on Speaker Ralston’s shoulders as to whether Benton’s views are OK with the Georgia GOP and the Georgia House of Representatives.
Yesterday Speaker Ralston attempted to dodge the issue completely.
“In the heat of legislative sessions, it is not uncommon for hyperbole to enter into disagreements and discussions,” Speaker Ralston told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I always encourage members, in both chambers and in both parties, to ratchet down the language whenever possible.”
Even though Speaker Ralston encourages member to “ratchet down the language,” Rep. Benton decided to take a different approach. He did a sit-down interview with WSB-TV’s Lori Geary to double-down on his ignorance.
Adding to his defense of the KKK, Rep. Benton referred to slaves as “property,” with no acknowledgement that Southern slaves were people.
This newest interview puts the ball back in Speaker Ralston’s court. So far, he’s stalled: “Through his spokesman, Ralston declined to comment.”