A South Carolina sheriff is dismissing criticism over his comments comparing the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to the Ku Klux Klan as "political bashing."
Sheriff Chuck Wright of Spartanburg County, South Carolina announced at a Greenville-Spartanburg Republican Women’s meeting earlier this month that "the most racist people in America right now sometimes are minorities," according to WYFF, the local NBC station.
Wright went on:
"I've got a chaplain who works for me. He's an African-American, he is my brother and I love him more than anything. He doesn't buy into that mess. A bunch of his friends don't either. They don't do the NAACP because I feel like that is a racist group as well as the KKK. I don’t care about them either. I don't want to be a part of no group that's got something to do just because of your color. I don't think they're right.
I think if we would quit worrying about Democrats or Republicans and just love our neighbors as God told us to, we're gonna be better. We're just gonna be better."
The comments quickly came under fire.
Michael Brown, president of the local NAACP chapter, told GoUpstate.com that Wright's remarks were "short-sighted, racially insensitive and just ignorant."
"If you look at the history and overall mission and purpose of the NAACP, it's for the political, educational, socio-economical equality for all persons, black, white, green, whatever," Brown was quoted as saying. "Its mission is to eliminate any racial discrimination."
Russell Lynch, who is running for sheriff against Wright, told WYFF that the comments were "not conducive" to solving problems and building relationships.
"It's an embarrassment to law enforcement for a law enforcement professional to sum a group like the NAACP up as being a racist organization," Lynch told the station in a segment posted on YouTube by Raw Story.
Wright later revised his comments, telling GoUpstate.com that some people who claim to be with the NAACP are "sometimes racist."
"We have an NAACP here in Spartanburg that tries to help everybody," Wright told WYFF. "There's a very small group within that group. They're divisive, and I don't buy into that mess."
Wright has a history of making controversial comments. Just last week, he said he would "whip" any transgender woman who uses the women's restroom.
"If you are a guy and you go into a bathroom with my wife, I’m gonna make the news -- I know there’s three cameras rolling -- I’m gonna whip your tail," Wright said, according to LGBTQ Nation.
After a sexual assault in the community in 2011, Wright urged women to get a concealed weapons permit and carry a gun.
"You ain't got to be accurate," Wright told WYFF at the time. "You just have to get close."