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*** UPDATED x1 - Defiant Kirk responds *** HRC, Giffords’ group unendorse Sen. Kirk

Saturday, Oct 29, 2016

[Comments opened.]

* From the Human Rights Campaign

After careful consideration, HRC’s Public Policy Committee of the Board of Directors has taken the unprecedented step — a first in our 36-year history — of revoking an endorsement. We are a bipartisan organization and our staff and board make endorsement decisions based on a proven record of LGBTQ equality and a candidate’s ability to drive legislative change. We will not continue to make progress and pass the Equality Act without Republican support. It’s vitally important that we continue to build bipartisan coalitions so that we may continue to move equality forward. We endorsed the sitting Senator, Mark Kirk, because he has been a strong supporter of our cause time and again, scoring a 100 percent on HRC’s most recent Congressional Scorecard. But events this week have gone beyond the pale for our standards of leadership.

Leadership is about more than the legislation one sponsors and the votes one casts. On Thursday night, Senator Kirk’s comments about his opponent’s heritage were deeply offensive and racist. His attempt to use Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth’s race as a means to undermine her family’s American heritage and patriotism is beyond reprehensible. Yesterday, Senator Kirk tweeted an apology that failed to adequately address the real harm and magnitude of his words. So today, following a vote by our board’s committee, the Human Rights Campaign withdrew our support of Senator Kirk.

Attacking someone because of her race and ethnicity is inexcusable for anyone, but especially for a sitting U.S. Senator. The diversity of our movement is our greatest strength, and Senator Kirk’s remarks were an affront to our most fundamental values. We have therefore voted to endorse Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, who has been a strong LGBTQ ally in the House of Representatives, and HRC will contribute the maximum amount to her campaign. We look forward to working with her in the Senate to secure full federal equality for all LGBTQ Americans.

The group was under serious pressure to back off its endorsement.

* And that’s not all…

Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC (ARS PAC) – the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Navy combat veteran and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly – announced today it has revoked its endorsement of United States Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois in the wake of his racist attack on U.S. Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth.

STATEMENT BY ARS PAC EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR PETER AMBLER

“In public office, your values matter as much as your votes. That’s the example Gabby set in Congress and in her campaigns, and that’s the example we must follow in the movement to reduce gun violence. Senator Kirk’s racist attack on Congresswoman Duckworth is unacceptable and represents a low point, even in this election season. For that reason, Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC is revoking its endorsement of Senator Kirk. While we believe the path to responsible change and communities safer from gun violence must include Republican champions, we cannot continue to support Senator Kirk. A man who is not worthy of your vote cannot be worthy of our endorsement. As Gabby and Mark wrote in August, Congresswoman Duckworth is an American hero and a powerful voice for stronger gun laws. She will be an exceptional United States Senator.”

*** UPDATE *** From the Kirk campaign… 

Hey Rich — here are two on the record statements below from the Kirk campaign and from Divided Families USA to be included in your coverage of the HRC action.

On the record:
​”​Senator Kirk is incredibly proud of his leadership to fight discrimination at every level, including speaking on the steps of the Supreme Court to urge them to support marriage equality. The HRC decision today is unfortunate because it was based on politics instead of reality and further exemplified just how uncomfortable HRC was in supporting a Republican who was a leader for their efforts, including eradicating discrimination. ​” -Kirk campaign spokesperson Eleni Demertzis

“We believe the accusations of racism being leveled against Sen. Kirk are totally unfounded and unfair. For over a decade, Sen. Kirk has championed the Korean-American war-torn divided families issue when few legislators, Asian or otherwise, would. Without Sen. Kirk’s advocacy, we believe our divided families issue may fail to get the legislative support needed to fulfill their lifelong dreams of reunion—a humanitarian tragedy in the making. Sen. Kirk has, and continues to be, a vigorous champion for the Korean-American community and commands the respect of Asian Americans at large.” – Dr. Jason Ahn, Board Chair, Divided Families USA​

By the way, Kirk’s sister was adopted from South Korea as a baby.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

42 Comments
  1. - slow down - Monday, Oct 31, 16 @ 9:04 am:

    He has no one to blame but himself. He may regret what he said but he revealed something about himself that should give those who have supported him pause.


  2. - Team Sleep - Monday, Oct 31, 16 @ 9:09 am:

    8 more days…only 8 more days…


  3. - Colin O'Scopey - Monday, Oct 31, 16 @ 9:09 am:

    I don’t this this is about Kirk being a racist. I don’t think he is.

    I do think it’s about his mental capacity and his inability to filter what he says, much of which is inappropriate.


  4. - LizPhairTax - Monday, Oct 31, 16 @ 9:10 am:

    But…but…but I have Asian friends


  5. - AlfondoGonz - Monday, Oct 31, 16 @ 9:17 am:

    “We believe the accusations of racism being leveled against Sen. Kirk are totally unfounded and unfair.”

    Unfounded and unfair. I don’t believe those words mean what you think they mean.


  6. - Springfieldish - Monday, Oct 31, 16 @ 9:25 am:

    It doesn’t really matter if this is racism or not. Senator Kirk failed to exercise basic impulse control and failed to recognize that his statement, which by the way he sat there and thought about for a minute or two and didn’t just blurt it out in the heat of an exchange, would be perceived as racially derogatory. That basic impulse he showed was that of a privileged, pampered, elitist, white guy who never has shied away from his disdain for everyone else. Not Senatorial at all.


  7. - Stumpy's bunker - Monday, Oct 31, 16 @ 9:26 am:

    Talks like Trump. Thinks Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda is a good idea.

    Toast.


  8. - DGD - Monday, Oct 31, 16 @ 9:34 am:

    Losing the support of ARS is a good thing.


  9. - Name/Nickname/Anon - Monday, Oct 31, 16 @ 9:34 am:

    I imagine with control of the Senate on the line there has been a lot of pressure on certain Democratic leaning groups to not back Kirk. I think these groups have been looking for an “out” for a while and Kirk’s remark gave it to them.


  10. - Louis G Atsaves - Monday, Oct 31, 16 @ 9:35 am:

    What is sad is Kirk is anything but a racist, but has opened himself up to that charge by political opportunists who fling it out there every opportunity they can.

    Mark proudly introduced me to his sister years ago at some event. He didn’t call her anything other than his sister.

    I know politics has been polarized to the point where so-called liberal leaning groups run from Republicans or hold then to higher behavioral standards than Democrats, and vice-versa, but the end result is increasing polarization and less governing.

    Not a happy situation for which I don’t see much of a solution in the near future.


  11. - Jocko - Monday, Oct 31, 16 @ 9:36 am:

    I like how they put a campaign spokesperson “on the record” to help unring that bell.

    We’ll never know for sure if Kirk’s remark came from spite or a desire to “gin up” his base.


  12. - People over Parties - Monday, Oct 31, 16 @ 9:38 am:

    I don’t think he is a racist. His past actions speak contrary to that. I do think he suffers a tad bit too much from “foot-in-mouth” disease.


  13. - Last Bull Moose - Monday, Oct 31, 16 @ 9:43 am:

    Kirk put self over country when he chose to run for reelection. An honest self-assessment would have him withdraw and back a candidate with similar views.


  14. - @MisterJayEm - Monday, Oct 31, 16 @ 9:53 am:

    “Kirk’s sister was adopted from South Korea as a baby.”

    In other words: Kirk knew better when he said it.

    – MrJM


  15. - slow down - Monday, Oct 31, 16 @ 9:54 am:

    Rationalizing Kirk’s comments as the product of a lost filter in the wake of his stroke is excusing something which should not be excused. I’m not saying he’s David Duke but what Kirk articulated in that moment should be called out every time and should not be excused or explained away.


  16. - AlfondoGonz - Monday, Oct 31, 16 @ 10:00 am:

    Louis G Atsaves

    Kirk’s comment, which amounts to “You’re less of an American than I am because your mom is from a different country,” is something that only someone who holds racist views would think, let alone say.

    But as other commenters have said, I’m concerned with the fact that he holds dated views than with the fact that he can’t recognize it nor control himself.


  17. - ArchPundit - Monday, Oct 31, 16 @ 10:12 am:

    This wasn’t his only moment. Think about his bit defending the Drug Dealer in Chief comment. He went on about the 500 Euro note and claimed that it was the EU’s words that Obama was the Drug Dealer in Chief.


  18. - steward - Monday, Oct 31, 16 @ 10:16 am:

    “We believe the accusations of racism being leveled against Sen. Kirk are totally unfounded and unfair.”

    Would we be having this discussion if Tammy’s mother was say, Irish? German? British?

    No… we wouldn’t. That is racism…


  19. - Anonymous - Monday, Oct 31, 16 @ 10:17 am:

    =What is sad is Kirk is anything but a racist, but has opened himself up to that charge by political opportunists who fling it out there every opportunity they can.=

    So your suggesting that the problem isn’t Kirk but “political opportunists”? If Kirk can’t realize the consequences of his words (racist or not) than he’s not deserving to hold office.


  20. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Oct 31, 16 @ 10:20 am:

    ===…by political opportunists who fling it out there every opportunity they can.===

    No - Louis G Atsaves -

    Mark Kirk isn’t a victim to those that heard clearly what they heard, Mark Kirk is a victim to his words that were clearly racial, and clearly making the point that Kirk felt the race of Duckworth was worth noting, even though as we all know, Kirk included, it was the other side of Duckworth’s family being cited.

    Can’t defend that - Louis G Atsaves -…

    That, and drinking fast in “certain” neighborhoods…

    Kirk plays race. Purposely.

    It saddened me this last remark. But this last remark hasn’t been the only remark.

    Those listening are the victims, not Lirk victimized by those paying attention.


  21. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Oct 31, 16 @ 10:22 am:

    “driving”

    Apologies.


  22. - Lincoln Lad - Monday, Oct 31, 16 @ 10:23 am:

    Does having a stroke give you racist opinions? I don’t think so. Both the drug dealer in chief and the recent debate comments have racist overtones. The judgment is what has been impacted, it has removed some of the filter. What unfiltered Kirk says may be some of the most truthful things he’s said of what he believes. Not just now, but before the stroke as well. If that’s what you like or want - then vote for him. I won’t be, and I’d encourage anyone to reject him for what he believes… not for what he says.


  23. - Louis G. Atsaves - Monday, Oct 31, 16 @ 10:31 am:

    @AlfondoGonz, thank you for proving my point by restating and redefining Kirk’s comment to make it sound “more racist.” Congrats on lowering the discourse further.

    @OswegoWilly, thanks for also proving my point. You will notice that I didn’t “apologize” for Kirk’s remarks. Did you know of Kirk’s family before you pounced?


  24. - AlfondoGonz - Monday, Oct 31, 16 @ 10:33 am:

    Louis G. Atsaves

    Your point was not proven by any stretch of the imagination.


  25. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Oct 31, 16 @ 10:36 am:

    ===…thanks for also proving my point.===

    I proved nothing except that you continually look for those you support to have a victim card to play. It’s endearing how you always try the same pivot!

    ===Did you know of Kirk’s family before you pounced?===

    “Some in my family are… ”

    You really like that pivot, lol.

    It’s a baby-step above “some of his best friends are… ”

    I guess if you have a best friend or family member, race-bating language is… acceptable?

    Hmm.


  26. - Louis G. Atsaves - Monday, Oct 31, 16 @ 10:56 am:

    Sorry to offend the easily offended Oswego Willy. Allowing name callers to hide behind their alleged righteousness isn’t “victimhood” or any feeling of “victimization.”

    ===”I proved nothing except that you continually look for those you support to have a victim card to play.” = = =

    “Continually look? Victim Card? Play?”

    So anytime I support a position or a fellow Republican I am continually looking to pay the victim card? Pretty wild stuff before drinking your Monday coffee Willy.

    To you this is a game. OK then. Thanks again for proving my point.


  27. - Red tower - Monday, Oct 31, 16 @ 11:03 am:

    =Would we be having this discussion if Tammy’s mother was say, Irish? German? British?=

    No we wouldn’t. But it is because of the racism involved. We wouldn’t be having the conversation at all because Irish, German or British are not considered the ‘other’ and Kirk would not even think to use it as a slam.
    I find it particularly silly to accuse those who notice and call out racism racists because they noticed, under the absurd premise that someone truly not racist wouldn’t even notice the basis for what was obviously intended as an insult.


  28. - Red tower - Monday, Oct 31, 16 @ 11:08 am:

    We all have nasty demons of thought floating around in our head but most of us also have a parts of our psyche that instantly tells us those are unworthy thoughts, and we have other parts that tell us that they shouldn’t be spoken in certain situations. I think that senator kirk’s stroke damaged those parts of his mind but not the part that relates to logic and memory. Unfortunately I also think the part of his mind that would allow him to realize it is time for him to retire has also been damaged.


  29. - Last Bull Moose - Monday, Oct 31, 16 @ 11:12 am:

    I sometimes have thoughts that my better self rejects. I hope that age or injury does not change me so that those thoughts come out unfiltered.


  30. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Oct 31, 16 @ 11:17 am:

    ===Allowing name callers to hide behind their alleged righteousness isn’t “victimhood” or any feeling of “victimization.”===

    So you’re more upset at those calling Kirk out, then what Kirk actually said.

    Got it. That makes sense. Again, the victimhood.

    - Louis G Atsaves -

    Rauner is a victim to Madigan, your shtick IS victimhood. It’s comically charming.

    ===o anytime I support a position or a fellow Republican I am continually looking to pay the victim card===

    So you agree with Sen. Kirk’s remarks about Rep. Duckworth’s family? Hmm…

    “One of Sen. Kirk’s best… whomevers..”

    Oh boy.

    ===Thanks again for proving my point.===

    You have no point but Kirk is a victim to people actually hearing Kirk’s words.

    Bud, you ain’t helpin’


  31. - Joe Bidenopolous - Monday, Oct 31, 16 @ 11:30 am:

    I dunno, we’ve got:

    * Calling Lindsey Graham a “bro with no ho…that’s what we’d say on the South Side”

    * Saying he wanted to spur African American entrepreneurs and make changes “so that the black community is not the one we drive faster through”

    * Called Obama the “drug dealer in chief”

    * And now the “didn’t know your parents came from Thailand to serve George Washington”

    Call me crazy, but taken as a whole, it all seems pretty racist to me


  32. - Excessively Rabid - Monday, Oct 31, 16 @ 11:35 am:

    I thought Kirk’s comment was more stupid than offensive - in other words, typically Kirk. I still think Duckworth is distressingly unqualified for the office, but I early voted for her anyway, the other choice being to keep Kirk. Haven’t changed my mind. Kirk signing off on that idiotic letter the the Iranian mullahs is what really did it for me though. If a bunch of dems did something like that, the GOP would be screaming for treason trials.


  33. - Louis G. Atsaves - Monday, Oct 31, 16 @ 12:08 pm:

    = = = @OswegoWilly, thanks for also proving my point. You will notice that I didn’t “apologize” for Kirk’s remarks. Did you know of Kirk’s family before you pounced? = = =

    and = = = So anytime I support a position or a fellow Republican I am continually looking to pay the victim card? Pretty wild stuff before drinking your Monday coffee Willy. = = =

    Notice that both of the above is a repeat, since you apparently didn’t read them the first time.

    If you can’t answer the questions I posed to you, just say so. Own it man!


  34. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Oct 31, 16 @ 12:12 pm:

    - Louis G Atsaves -

    ======…by political opportunists who fling it out there every opportunity they can.===

    You’re blaming the opportunists, not Kirk.

    You point out Kirk’s sister, not the ignorance Kirk said

    Fairly straight-forward victimhood, bud.


  35. - steward - Monday, Oct 31, 16 @ 12:14 pm:

    “I find it particularly silly to accuse those who notice and call out racism racists because they noticed, under the absurd premise that someone truly not racist wouldn’t even notice the basis for what was obviously intended as an insult.”

    I meant we wouldn’t be having this discussion because Kirk would never had said the comment.


  36. - Lincoln Lad - Monday, Oct 31, 16 @ 12:29 pm:

    Louis G Atsaves
    Don’t defend Kirk, save it for someone more worthy.
    Kirk is not, and that couldn’t be clearer.


  37. - Angry Republican - Monday, Oct 31, 16 @ 12:56 pm:

    And yet somehow Joe Biden has managed to survive saying things far worse than Kirk.


  38. - Anono - Monday, Oct 31, 16 @ 3:19 pm:

    Popping more popcorn while Atsaves and Oswego Willy do the Republicans In Disarray dance!


  39. - lanyard - Monday, Oct 31, 16 @ 3:29 pm:

    I’m enjoying the logic behind, “It’s not that he’s racist, it’s that he can no longer control the [racist] things [in his brain] from coming out of his mouth.”


  40. - ArchPundit - Monday, Oct 31, 16 @ 3:35 pm:

    2010 Mark Kirk: “These are lawyers and other people that will be deployed in key, vulnerable precincts, for example, South and West sides of Chicago, Rockford, Metro East, where the other side might be tempted to jigger the numbers somewhat,” Kirk says on the tape.


  41. - Anonymous - Monday, Oct 31, 16 @ 3:56 pm:

    Imagine how offended people would be if television stations continued to broadcast episodes of “All in the Family.” Kirk’s smug comment doesn’t compare to anything that Archie Bunker says.


  42. - btowntruth from forgotonnia - Monday, Oct 31, 16 @ 6:36 pm:

    Kirk’s smug comment doesn’t compare to anything that Archie Bunker said.
    =================================================Stop it.Just stop it right there.
    Archie Bunker is a fictional character on a television show that stopped production over thirty years ago.
    Mark Kirk is a sitting United States Senator up for re-election.
    Absolutely zero comparison.

    And it wasn’t a “smug comment”,the correct term is “racist comment”.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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