As state Rep. Tommy Benton’s Republican colleagues begin to distance themselves from his controversial comments about the Ku Klux Klan and slavery, House Speaker David Ralston continues to be silent on the issue.
On Friday, House Ethics Committee Chairman Joe Wilkinson, R-Sandy Springs, removed his name from two pieces of legislation he co-sponsored with Benton, a Republican from Jefferson.
Wilkinson told Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Chris Joyner, “I certainly cannot associate myself with those comments.”
House Speaker Ralston, however, declined to comment through a spokesman. Even after saying the KKK “wasn’t so much a racist thing;” that the Klan “made a lot of people straighten up” and then adding a television interview where he called slaves “property,” Rep. Benton continues to enjoy a leadership role in the State House.
Rep. Benton is chairman of the House Committee on Human Relations and Aging, an appointment by Speaker Ralston.