A Tennessee lawmaker is grabbing headlines after making a number of controversial comments at a county commission meeting on Monday night. Sevier County residents gathered to discuss a resolution on gun rights. Local CBS affiliate WVLT 8 reports that the conversation ultimately turned into a forum for bigoted opinions.
In attendance at the meeting was the chair of Sevier County Democrats, Sara Thompson, who came to voice her concerns over making Sevier county a “Second Amendment sanctuary.” Essentially, commissioners were voting to disavow any laws that could possibly infringe on a resident’s right to bear arms. The resolution passed in a unanimous vote, but not before Sevier County Commissioner Warren Hurst, broke into a tirade about how this country has taken a turn for the worse.
“It’s time we wake up people, it’s time, it’s past time,” Hurst is recorded on camera saying to applause.
“We got a queer running for president. If that ain’t about as ugly as you can get,” he says in reference to the campaign of Pete Buttigieg. “Look what we got running for president in the Democratic party. We can go over here to Hoss’s jail [Sevier County Sheriff] and get better people out of there than those running for democratic, to be President of the United States.”
At a point, Hurst also alluded to the idea that former President Barack Obama was a “thug.”
Although Hurst’s statements clearly exhibited bias, he later contends that he is not a bigot. “I’m not prejudiced, but by golly, a white male in this country has very few rights, and they’re getting took more every day,” Hurst contended. “You’ll hear ’em stand on the stage and say, ‘Oh, I’m for the poor and the Black.’ You never heard one of them say ‘I believe white people have rights, too.’”
Hurst’s words prompted Thompson to leave the meeting. In an interview with WVLT News the next day, she said, “County commissioners need to remember that when they’re elected they need to represent everyone. This should serve as a reminder to all county commissioners to have more respect for each other and their constituents.”
Politicians from Tennessee have spoken out against Hurst’s comments. Some have even called for his resignation. For now, the Sevier County Commissioner remains in office.