JACKSON, Mississippi (WJTV) – The nation is still reacting to a Facebook post made by Mississippi State Representative Karl Oliver over the weekend.
Rep. Oliver said Louisiana lawmakers should be “lynched” for removing Confederate monuments in New Orleans. Some now say that Oliver should be removed from office.
Oliver has since apologized for the post but some say an apology is not enough. As to whether Oliver is actually removed from office, Nathan Shrader, a political science professor at Millsaps College says, “Really what happens next is his own decision.” Shrader says the calls for resignation in this case are reasonable, but he thinks Oliver will have to make the move. He says, “What the representative did, I think, has been acknowledged even by members of his own party as being way beyond what a member should be doing ot saying on social media.”
House Speaker Philip Gunn already stripped Oliver of his Vice Chairmanship of the Forestry Committee. Since then, several groups have pushed for him to resign and there is an online petition calling for his resignation. Congressman Bennie Thompson says, “With postings and statements there are consequences.” Of Oliver’s ouster US Rep. Thompson says, “I’m not certain that that will happen, but I do know that we have been very troubled in Washington.” Part of the fallout was over the reactions of other political and community leaders over the post. Representatives John Reed and Doug McLeod liked the Facebook post, as did Tony Dunn, a public affairs officer for the Mississippi Highway Patrol.
Mississippi Representative Sonya Williams-Barnes, chair of the Mississippi Black Caucus, says, “I was disappointed as well as shocked because those two legislators, I did not feel, have that type of mindset. I have not (gotten) a chance a speak to them. I personally know both, and I plan to have a conversation with them to hear directly from them to know why they would “like” that post.”
According to the State Constitution, there is a provision for impeachment, but experts say that is only tied to treason, bribery, or serious crime. Professor Shrader says, “I think impeachment is a very long shot. I would not expect that, but I do think that the kind of thing that is a real possibility is as the pressure continues to mount, he should probably do the right thing and step aside.”
By all accounts it is not likely that reaction to Oliver’s post will dissipate any time soon.