Speed Reads

protests in charlotte

Republican congressman takes back remark that Charlotte protesters 'hate white people'

Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-N.C.) said Thursday that he "regrets" telling the BBC during an interview that protesters in Charlotte "hate white people."

The protests against the deadly officer-involved shooting of a black man on Tuesday are being attended by people of all races. Pittenger, whose district includes areas of Charlotte where the protests are taking place, was asked by the BBC to describe the "grievance" of demonstrators. "The grievance in their minds — the animus, the anger — they hate white people because white people are successful and they're not," Pittenger said. "It is a welfare state. We have spent trillions of dollars on welfare, but we've put people in bondage, so they can't be all they're capable of being."

His comments were quickly denounced as "inexcusable" and "racist" by the North Carolina Democratic Party, The Charlotte Observer reports. Pittenger later tweeted that what is happening in Charlotte "breaks my heart," and his "anguish" caused him to "respond to a reporter's question in a way that I regret." His answer "doesn't reflect who I am," he added, and he said he was "quoting statements made by angry protesters last night on national TV" and his intent was to "discuss the lack of economic mobility for African Americans because of failed policies." He apologized to "those I offended," and said he hopes "we can bring peace and calm to Charlotte." Catherine Garcia