Politicians in Missouri are calling for one of their state's congressional representatives to resign after he publicly called for the lynching of a culprit who vandalized a Confederate statue.
In a Facebook post reacting to a news report about a vandal throwing paint on a Confederate monument in Springfield National Cemetery, State Rep. Warren Love wrote, "I hope they are found & hung from a tall tree with a long rope."
The chairman of the Missouri Democratic Party, Stephen Webber, issued a tweet calling for Love's resignation on the grounds that "calls for political violence are unacceptable."
This sentiment was echoed by House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty of Kansas City, who declared that while she opposes vandalism, "state Rep. Warren Love invoked a form of political violence used throughout the South to keep African-Americans subjugated for generations following the fall of the Confederacy, and for that he must resign," according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Even a federal legislator stated that Love had crossed an important line. Sen. Claire McCaskill released a statement on Monday saying, "Representative Love should resign for his unacceptable comments."
In defending himself, Love told the Post-Dispatch that his comment was "an exaggerated statement that, you know, a lot of times is used in the western world when somebody does a crime or commits theft." He also insisted that he was motivated not by sympathy for the Confederacy but because "I’d of done the same statement if it’d been him [a Union general] in a national cemetery."
Love's claim to being neither racist nor pro-Confederate is somewhat undercut by his assertion that President Abraham Lincoln was the "greatest tyrant and despot in American history." He also once made a reference to "the black Negro" and defended himself against charges of racism by talking about how he gets along well with "the minorities."