|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
With a bead of sweat rolling down the side of his face outside a Columbia bar, Republican S.C. Sen. Jake Knotts called Lexington Rep. Nikki Haley, an Indian-American Republican woman running for governor, a “raghead” several times while explaining how he believed she was hiding her true religion from voters.
“She’s a f#!king raghead,” Knotts said.
He later clarified his statement. He did not mean to use the F-word.
Knotts says he believed Haley has been set up by a network of Sikhs and was programmed to run for governor of South Carolina by outside influences in foreign countries. He claims she is hiding her religion and he wants the voters to know about it.
“We got a raghead in Washington; we don’t need one in South Carolina,” Knotts said more than once. “She’s a raghead that’s ashamed of her religion trying to hide it behind being Methodist for political reasons.”
President Obama’s father is from Africa. His mother is a white woman from Kansas.
On her website, Haley says, “Being a Christian is not about words, but about living for Christ every day.”
Knotts, a former boxer and cop from West Columbia, said he wasn’t worried about being called a racist for the remarks he made. He says he was elected to the Senate to represent his constituents which he says he does well. He says many of his supporters are black.
“This is Jakie Knotts trying to let the people know,” he said about his motivations for leveling the inflammatory charges against a minority Republican frontrunner for governor just days before the June 8 primary elections. He says he’s called her a raghead before.
Knotts is backing Republican Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer for governor.
Bauer this week fired one of his lead consultants, Columbia lobbyist Larry Marchant, for what he called “inappropriate conduct.” Marchant told the media shortly after that he’d had sex with Haley at a conference in Utah while they were both married. The claim comes after blogger Will Folks said he’d also had a relationship with Haley in early 2007.
Knotts showed up unexpectedly at the Flying Saucer bar in Columbia’s Vista for a live taping of the online political talk show Pub Politics, which is co-hosted by Senate Republican Caucus political director Wesley Donehue and his Democratic counterpart, Phil Bailey. Democratic S.C. Rep Boyd Brown of Fairfield County was a guest.
Knotts initially made the racial slur on the show.
Neither Donehue, Bailey nor Brown challenged Knotts on his remark during or after the broadcast.
“I was floored,” Donehue said after the cameras were off.
“Senator Knotts took it a step too far,” Bailey said afterward. “I don’t agree with it … [but] it’s not my job to question Jakie Knotts.”
After the broadcast, Knotts stood in a corner on the deck of the bar and defended his remarks.
“This isn’t the first time I’ve said it,” Knotts said. “I’m not on a crusade to downgrade her, but if someone asks me I’ll tell ‘em. And look here, someone wants to vote for her knowing the truth, vote for her.”
Knotts said that South Carolina is a religious community.
“We need a good Christian to be our governor,” he said. “She’s hiding her religion. She ought to be proud of it. I’m proud of my god.”