OXFORD, Miss (WJTV) - A new controversy for State Senator Chris McDaniel. The Republican running for U.S. Senate responds to comments he made on national television when asked about black voters in Mississippi.
WJTV 12's Shay O'Connor spoke with him today. He says his comments were taken out of context.
This all took place during a segment on the MSNBC show "Morning Joe" which was in Oxford early this morning.
The state senator responded to a question from a panelist who wanted to know what McDaniel would do to convince black voters he is not a danger to them. Cristen Hemmins was in the crowd and says his response was a complete shock to the audience.
"When Eddie Blouse asked Chris McDaniel the question he asked about what he would say to the 38 percent of voters who are black, Chris McDaniel's response was just shocking. Everyone in the audience. There were audible gasps and then boo's. Just flat out racist. "
McDaniel said, "I am going to ask them...after 100 years of relying on big government to save you, Where are you today?"
He went on to say, "After 100 years of begging the federal government for scraps... Where are you today?"
The comment was met with boos. McDaniel says he stands by those comments because the State of Mississippi needs jobs and fewer federal handouts and corporate welfare.
" We have been stuck in this rut for 100 years. We cant seem to get out of it. We are dead last economically speaking. My position is let's reform the government and the system and bring jobs to Mississippi. So all of us can have high paying jobs
and be prosperous together."
McDaniel says he does not think his statements will impact his poll numbers or even the African-American vote.
African Americans account for 38% of Mississippi voters.
Democrat Mike Espy also appeared on Morning Joe. He and McDaniel will face current U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith and Democrat Toby Bartee.
In a statement, Governor Phil Bryant denounced McDaniel's comments:
I condemn and reject in the strongest possible terms Chris McDaniel’s characterization of African-Americans as beggars. This does not reflect the beliefs of the Mississippi Republican Party or the average Mississippian.