Congressman tells BBC that Charlotte protesters ‘hate white people’

Protesters take to the streets uptown during a peaceful march.
Image: AP

A Republican North Carolina congressman has claimed that protesters in Charlotte “hate white people because white people are successful and they are not.”

Robert Pittenger, who has represented parts of Charlotte since 2013, made his comments after two days of protests in the city in the aftermath of the death of Keith Lamont Scott.

The grievance in their mind, the animus, the anger they hate white people because white people are successful and theyre not, he said.

“It is a welfare state. We have spent trillions of dollars on welfare, but weve put people in bondage, so that they cant be all that theyre capable of being.

“America is a country of opportunity and freedom and liberty. It didnt become that way because of a great government who provided everything for everyone,” he continued. “No, the destiny of America, the freedom to come to this country where theyre still coming to our shores is because they can take their work ethic, their hard effort, and put up their capital and their risk, and build out their lives.

Pittenger’s comments immediately caused anger on social media.

The North Carolina Democratic Party issued a statement accusing him of “fanning the flames of hate” with racist rhetoric.

This sort of bigotry has become all too common under the party of Donald J. Trump. Our great state should not be represented by someone who would make such hateful comments,” it said.

Pittenger later apologised on Twitter, saying his answer to a BBC Newsnight interviewer “doesn’t reflect who I am”.

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