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Texas GOP congressman 'grateful' for award from hate group

Rep. Williams proudly accepted an award from an antigay hate group whose president has worked with white nationalists.

By Matthew Chapman - February 16, 2018
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Rep. Roger Williams

Texas GOP Rep. Roger Williams is not without fans. In fact, he is very proud his record picked up one endorsement in particular.

On Friday, Williams announced he had won the “true blue” award from the Family Research Council (FRC) for his 100% rating on their legislative scorecard.

“I promised Texans that I would bring my conservative values to Washington and vote with my conscience every day,” wrote Williams in his statement. “In the past year I have fought to protect the unborn, repeal Obamacare, and overhaul our nations’ broken tax code. I am grateful for this recognition, and I look forward to continuing to uphold our American ideals.”

The only problem? The endorsement Williams is touting comes from a hate group.

The FRC, despite presenting itself as just a conservative religious organization, has a history of promoting overt hate, documented by the Southern Poverty Law Center. And its officials have ties not only to antigay extremists but also white nationalists.

One FRC pamphlet in 1999 warned, “One of the primary goals of the homosexual rights movement is to abolish all age of consent laws and to eventually recognize pedophiles as the ‘prophets’ of a new sexual order.” FRC also urged members to support Uganda’s bill that made homosexuality a capital crime, though they later tried to cover this up.

The group’s president, Tony Perkins, is a former reserve officer in the Baton Rouge Police Department, where he was suspended after declining to report a plot by right-wing extremists to violently target a Louisiana abortion clinic. Perkins once purchased the mailing list of Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke while managing the failed Senate campaign of Woody Jenkins. He also gave a speech to the Council of Conservative Citizens, the segregationist group that inspired white supremacist Dylann Roof to murder nine people at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina.

 

And Williams is not alone in unashamedly associating with the FRC. Trump himself is a big fan of the group, and is the first president to ever speak at their annual “Values Voter Summit.”  Perkins, for his part is a huge supporter of Trump, claiming he deserves a “mulligan” for his affair with a porn star.

Rep. Williams does not make a habit of staking out easily defensible positions.

In May, Williams said it was fine for then-congressional candidate Greg Gianforte to body-slam a reporter because “there’s a lot of tension” when you run for office. And in October, he voted against hurricane relief for Puerto Rico even after supporting relief for his own state.

Williams is an egregious example of Republican support for hate groups. But he speaks to a much deeper rooted problem, and a dark side of American politics.


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