While the White House and Republican Party leaders have sat on their hands as former Ku Klux Klansman Robert Byrd continues to reign as a top Senate leader, a group of civil rights and conservative activists will launch a lunchtime protest on Monday against the West Virginia Democrat, demanding that he remove himself from the line of succession to the presidency and resign from his post as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
In a press release issued Sunday, Kevin Martin, Political and Government Affairs Director of the African American Republican Leadership Council, invited those concerned about Byrd's atrocious record on race to join members of his and other civil rights groups like the Brotherhood Organization for a New Destiny (BOND) and Project 21, along with members of the Web site FreeRepublic.com, at the noon protest at Byrd's Hart Building Senate office.
Martin said the protest would specifically address the following issues:
"Senator Byrd’s appearance as Georgia Confederate General Paul J. Semmer in the upcoming Civil War Epic 'Gods and Generals.' We firmly believe that Senator Byrd has no business playing this role given his past ties to the Ku Klux Klan and past support of segregationist principles.
"We are demanding that Senator Byrd remove his name from consideration as the Democrat choice for Senate pro tempore when the Senate returns to session on January 7, 2003. It is our belief that Senator Byrd does not represent the mainstream of Americans and has no place in the line of succession to the Presidency should the Democrats regain the majority.
"Senator Byrd’s opposition to both African-American Supreme Court nominees Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas gives us grave concern for any future nominees of color that may be sent forth by this President or any other. It is our belief that Senator Byrd's opposition has nothing to do with the beliefs of liberal or conservative, but is just racism in general.
"It is our belief that as a former Majority Leader, Ranking Chairman and Ranking Member again of the Senate Appropriations Committee, that Senator Byrd has used his influence to silence criticism by the Congressional Black Caucus and so-called civil rights groups. We demand that Senator Byrd gives up his seat on the Appropriations Committee and that Senate Democrat Leader Tom Daschle reassign him to another committee.
"We demand that Robert Byrd issue a public apology for his racist and bigoted statements made on 'Fox News Sunday' in 2001. Senator Byrd's comments have no place in the halls of our great Senate and should not be tolerated by his fellow Senators."
Byrd has never apologized in person for the his nationally televised racist outburst, in which he used the epithet "n----rs" twice, but instead issued a written statement of apology immediately after the "Fox News Sunday" broadcast.
"The coalition gathered here today believes that any debate on race put forth by the Democrat Party and its liberal operatives is nothing more than a scam as long as Robert Byrd's behavior and voting record on civil rights issues is not included in the debate," said Martin.
"Senator Byrd is not within the mainstream of 21st century politics and our coalition is gathered here today to finally make this known to the American people."
With Carl Limbacher and NewsMax.com Staff
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