Leavenworth County Commissioner Louis Klemp, county official out of Kansas, is under fire after he used the phrase “master race” while speaking to a Black city planner.
Now, the governor is calling for his resignation due to his comments, but to hear some other officials tell the story, it was merely a joke (based on teeth if you could guess) that went wrong.
According to the Washington Post, Klemp put his whole foot in his mouth last week during a county commissioners meeting when he had an issue with a development project brought up by the planning consultant, who was also the only Black person in the video that captured his words.
“I don’t want you to think I’m picking on you because we’re part of the master race. You know you got a gap in your teeth. You’re the masters. Don’t ever forget that,” Klemp is heard telling Triveece Penelton.
Leavenworth County Administrator Mark Loughry claimed that Klemp was not referring to race, but rather about people who have a gap in their teeth, noting that the commissioner has made similar remarks before. Loughry said that Klemp was saying that he and Penelton were part of the master race.
“The use of the term ‘Master Race,’ as ill-advised as it may be, was not a reference to Nazis or used in a racist manner in this instance,” Loughry said in a statement. “Leavenworth County has a zero tolerance for racism or discrimination in any form from any staff members. I am deeply sorry that one misconstrued comment by a member of our elected governing body has caused so much grief, sorrow and hatred.”
Klemp has declined to make any public defense of his statements.
But Republican Gov. Jeff Coyler, along with others, are not a fan of the remarks, “joke” or not.
“Racial and discriminative language have no place in our society, and most especially when spoken by someone holding a public office,” Colyer said in a statement, calling for Klemp to resign. “The inappropriate remarks made by Leavenworth County Commissioner Louis Klemp are unacceptable and do not reflect the values of the county which he represents. As such, I call on him to step down as County Commissioner.”
“It just violated common decency . . . It’s time for him to resign,” Leavenworth Mayor Mark Preisinger added during a special meeting. “He’s been an embarrassment to the county, which reflects on the city and reflects on everyone.”