Today on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” West Virginia’s junior Democratic Senator Joe Manchin praised deceased Klan leader and long-time Democratic Senator Robert Byrd. “We looked up to Robert C. Byrd for fifty years,” Manchin said. “What he was able to accomplish and the people who basically depended on him in West Virginia,” Manchin added.
Indeed, Robert C. Byrd joined the Ku Klux Klan at age 24. Byrd rose through the ranks of the Klan and eventually became a Klan leader and Exalted Cyclops. In 1944, A committed racist, Byrd vowed to fellow segregationist Senator Theodore Bilbo (D-Miss.) that “I shall never fight in the armed forces with a Negro by my side… Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds.”
Robert C. Byrd held his hate for blacks and other minorities for decades. 20 years after joining the KKK, Robert Byrd joined other Southern Democrats in an unsuccessful filibuster against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Byrd spoke against the landmark legislation for a record 14 hours and 13 minutes. And as recently as 2001, Bryd used the hateful term “white n*gger” (twice) during an interview with Tony Snow.
That is the man Joe Manchin proudly praised. Robert Byrd was a known segregationist Democrat for decades. And Byrd’s position in the Klan as Exalted Cyclops (chapter President) was not a “fleeting association.” And Democrats made Byrd a party leader (minority and majority leader) for decades. Byrd was president pro tempore until he died in office in 2010.
So will Democrats call on Joe Manchin to apologize or resign the same way they did when Republican Senator Trent Lott (who resigned his leadership position) honored retiring Senator and former segregationist Strom Thurmond? Will Al Sharpton scream racism until Manchin apologizes? Will Jessie Jackson stage protests outside of Joe Manchin’s Senate office?
Don’t hold your breath.
File Joe Manchin praising Bryd, his party and the media’s silence and double standard under “Well, you see, Joe is a Democrat so he gets a pass.”
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