On Thursday, Republican Party of Texas Chair Allen West sent the state’s Democrats two packages of Oreos and a handwritten note.
“Enclosed you will find (2) packages of Oreo cookies to share and enjoy,” West wrote in elegant cursive scrawl. “Please forward one package to the disgusting racists over at the Lamar County Democrat Party.”
Rather than satisfying his opponents’ sweet tooth, West was rubbing sugar in an open wound.
Earlier this month, controversy erupted over a since-deleted Facebook post made by the chair of the Democratic Party in Lamar County, located around 116 miles northeast of Dallas. In it, Chair Gary O’Connor used the word “Oreo” in reference to Republican U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, who is Black.
The disparaging term is meant to describe a Black person who has adopted the attitudes and behaviors characteristic of white, middle-class society, according to Dictionary.com.
After President Joe Biden delivered a congressional address, Scott gave the official Republican response and said “America is not a racist country,” according to The Texas Tribune. Scott also said Democrats have hurled racial epithets at him, such as “Uncle Tom.”
Scott’s speech upset many Democrats, who claimed that GOP state legislators are aiming to impose additional voting restrictions that would disproportionately affect voters of color.
Shortly after, O’Connor tendered his resignation, which the county’s Democratic Party opted not to accept. Instead, the organization vowed to recommit itself to conducting discourse with “anti-racist, pro-reconciling attitudes and language.”
The party’s refusal to accept O’Connor’s resignation further outraged conservatives, eventually culminating in West taking to social media to condemn its decision. In one video posted to Twitter, he holds a package of Oreos while chastising the party. In another, West accuses them of having supported institutionalized racism, such as with Jim Crow laws and slavery.
West also said the Democratic Party sees “independent-thinking Black men and women as a threat,” and called Black Democrats “sellouts.”
“So, stop calling everyone else white supremacists and racists and all of these other things,” West said, “because you — the Lamar County Democrat Party, the Texas Democrat Party — you’re the real racists, and I despise you.”
In an emailed statement, Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa said it’s hypocritical of West to call out racism “only when convenient for Republicans.” Over the past few years, West ignored the racist and violent rhetoric used by former President Donald Trump and other Republican lawmakers, which contributed to a nearly 20% rise in hate crimes nationwide, Hinojosa said.
Meanwhile, O’Connor has apologized to Scott in a letter, telling the Washington Examiner that he’d embarrassed himself and his party.
In an email to the Observer, O’Connor said he is grateful that the Lamar County executive committee gave more weight to his decades of work fighting racism than they did to “one inappropriate word in one Facebook post among tens of thousands.”
“As for Chair West's commitment, I'm sure the TDP [Texas Democratic Party] staff will enjoy the treat,” O’Connor said.
West has a knack for political showmanship. At a press conference on Wednesday, he challenged a tardy reporter to drop and do 30 pushups, and when they refused, West did them himself.
Seems like a good way to work off some Oreos.
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