Mark Williams -- having seen his Tea Party Express booted from the National Tea Party Foundation for his nakedly racist screed about "coloreds" -- went on CNN Newsroom with Don Lemon yesterday and announced he was stepping down as the TPE spokesman. In the process, demonstrated exactly why the Tea Parties cannot distance themselves from their racists within quite as easily as they'd like:
LEMON: So I want to ask you, why did you resign from the Tea Party Express?
WILLIAMS: To take the spotlight off of me. It's a movement. It's not about me. It's not about my ego. It's not about my fat head. I did succeed in getting the NAACP to the table. And by the way this tea party federation which represents exactly 40 groups out of 5,000, I was never a member of. I have no idea who they are, but they threw me out.
Hmmmm. This is most peculiar, since the press release announcing the formation of the National Tea Party Foundation in April 2009 lists the Tea Party Express as one of its founding member organizations. And I can't find any indication the Tea Party Express ever indicated that this listing was in error.
In any event, Williams then went on to explain that he was still very much a Tea Party activist:
LEMON: OK. So listen, if you say that you wanted to take the spotlight off of you, I have to ask you then why did you accept this interview if you don't want to be in the spotlight?
WILLIAMS: I weaselled on you last time. The reason why I canceled last time was because the day before David Webb went on TV and did all this nonsense about kicking me out of a group I never belonged to, I had sat down with the Urban League, the NAACP, Reverend Al and a bunch of other people and we reached an agreement to put all the rancor behind us and find common ground.
This guy Webb, looking for headlines, cashing in, whatever it was, decided he would chime in. That makes me the issue when the issue should really be America and what we're working to save.
WILLIAMS: I am still a Tea Partier. I just don't speak officially for the Tea Party Express.
And then he demonstrated exactly the kind of racist ignorance that is embedded deeply in the movement he formerly represented: