Republican Mississippi state Rep. Gene Alday asserted on Monday that he had been taken out of context by a local paper that published his remarks saying that "all the blacks" in his district get "welfare crazy checks" because they do not work.
In a Sunday article, The Clarion-Ledger's Jerry Mitchell reported that Alday had recently linked his opposition to increased education funding to social welfare programs.
"I come from a town where all the blacks are getting food stamps and what I call 'welfare crazy checks,'" he declared. "They don't work."
He said that he once needed to go to the emergency room and "liked to died" because African-Americans were in line in front of him.
"I laid in there for hours because they (blacks) were in there being treated for gunshots," the former police chief reportedly said.
Alday later told The Clarion-Ledger that he's not racist, and he never would have made the remarks to the reporter if he knew they were going to be published.
In fact, he said that Mitchell should have known that the comments were off the record by his "way of talking."
"It was late at night and he called me," Alday recalled. "He asked me a question back to when I was in law enforcement … I have a way of talking and saying, 'take this off the record.'"
"Yes, it's true that most of the blacks in my hometown are on welfare," he continued. "But they're good people. I don't have anything against anybody. I'm a straight-up guy. In my little town they had little civil rights walks and I was with them. I'm with everybody."
But that explanation doesn't seem to be enough to get Mississippi Republicans back on his side.
"Rep. Alday is solely responsible for his remarks," Gov. Phil Bryant said. "I strongly reject his comments condemning any Mississippian because of their race. Those day are long past."
Clarion-Ledger Executive Editor Sam Hall has called on Alday to finish his term and step down. However, the lawmaker has vowed to seek another term in office.