Wisconsin’s most notorious conservative senator has again leaped into hot water, this time over Kwanzaa.
Sen. Glenn Grothman’s denounced the holiday in a press release Friday, calling the African-American cultural observance fake, fraudulent and one that “almost no black people today care about … just white left-wingers who try to shove this down black people’s throats in an effort to divide America.”
Unsurprisingly, there's been a backlash, including from the black caucus of the state Democratic Party. Caucus chair Stephanie Findley is calling on Gov. Scott Walker to denounce Grothman’s comments.
“As head of the Republican Party of Wisconsin, Scott Walker should say whether or not he associates himself with and approves of the disgusting comments made by a chief ally such as Sen. Glenn Grothman,” said Findley, CEO of Midwest Construction and Management of Milwaukee, in a statement.
Walker’s office did not respond to a request for a comment Wednesday afternoon.
In typical Grothman fashion, the West Bend lawmaker maintained Wednesday that he was not apologizing for his words.
Findley asserted that Grothman, who also has minimized the honor accorded civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., now seems to be saying he knows what's best for black people.
“He directly attacks basic principles of religious liberty in his ill-advised screed,” said Findley in the statement. “He took a time to celebrate peace and goodwill toward all and warped it into a narrow political appeal to bigots.”
At a time when the Republican Party is struggling to expand its appeal to voters, this is the second time Walker has been called on by state Democratic leaders to denounce what are arguably over-the-top comments by fellow members of the GOP.
Walker recently denounced a request from nine state tea party Republican lawmakers that he arrest federal officials who enter the state to set up a health care exchange required by law under the federal Affordable Care Act.
Grothman ended his Friday press release, which also went out to constituents as an e-newsletter, by cautioning parents to “be on the lookout if a K-12 or college teacher tries to tell your children or grandchildren (that Kwanzaa) is a real holiday.”
He claimed that “irresponsible” public schools district like Green Bay and Madison “try to tell a new generation that blacks have a separate holiday than Christians.”
Kwanzaa, a non-religious holiday that runs from Dec. 29 to Jan. 1, was first celebrated in 1966. It highlights African heritage with a focus on seven core principles It is estimated that some 18 million African-Americans celebrate Kwanzaa annually.
For more information on Kwanzaa, click here.