Lexington County state Senator Jake Knotts is accused of making a racial slur towards gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley and President Obama on an online political talk show Thursday night.
Sen. Jake Knotts was heard by multiple sources to call Haley a "raghead" on Pub Politics at the Flying Saucer in Columbia's Vista. Haley was born in South Carolina, but her family is of Indian heritage.
Knotts, who is a supporter of Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer in the Republican race for governor is reported to have said we already got one raghead in the White House we don TMt need a raghead in the governor TMs mansion, according to multiple sources who heard the broadcast.
Director of the State Senate Democratic Caucus and co-host of the show, Phil Bailey, confirmed to WACH Fox he heard Knotts use the phrase. Bailey quickly distanced himself from Knotts and added the statement of guests does not reflect the views of Pub Politics.
Episodes of Pub Politics are archived online; however, Thursday's episode is unavailable. Republican political operative and show co-host Wesley Donehue blamed the failure on a technical error.
"I must have forgot to hit record," said Donehue.
Donehue told CNN he has a copy of the broadcast on his camera though and planned to post the video online Friday.
Haley released a statement shortly after the interview denouncing Knotts' comment.
Jake Knotts represents all that is wrong with South Carolina politics. He TMs an embarrassment to our state and to the Republican Party. South Carolina is so much better than this, and the people of our state will make that quite clear next Tuesday," Haley said Thursday night.
Knotts issued an apology to Haley and Obama later Thursday.
Unfortunately, the show was not recorded as was intended, said Knotts. If it had been recorded, the public would be able to hear firsthand that my raghead comments about Obama and Haley were intended in jest. Bear in mind that this is a freewheeling, anything-goes Internet radio show that is broadcast from a pub. It TMs like local political version of Saturday Night Live, which is actually where the joke came from," Knotts said. Since my intended humorous context was lost in translation, I apologize. I still believe Ms. Haley is pretending to be someone she is not, much as Obama did, but I apologize to both for an unintended slur.
The South Carolina Republican Party has condemned the use of racial or religious slurs and requested Knotts apologize for his comment.
State Democrats are asking for Knotts to resign.
"In the last few years South Carolina's Republican officials have repeatedly said and done things that have embarassed the decent people of this state. The language Senator Knotts used, and his lame excuse for an apology, are completely unacceptable," said South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Carol Fowler. "If he has any shame at all he will resign from the Senate. There should be no room in government for hate speech."
This latest scandal involving Haley comes just one day after a lobbyist and former campaign employee of Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer accused Haley of having a one-night sexual relationship with him. The lobbyist did not offer any evidence to support his claim.
Haley leads in the race for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. She has described the last-minute attacks leveled at her campaign as gutter politics and declined to address them directly.
Keep checking back with WACH Fox News and MidlandsConnect.com for the very latest on this developing story.
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