A Republican lawmaker in Nevada has outraged many on both sides of the aisle after it was revealed yesterday that he told a group of Republican constituents that he would vote to bring back slavery if they wanted him to.
In resurfaced footage from an August meeting between Nevada assemblyman Jim Wheeler and a crowd of Storey County Republicans, the lawmaker can be seen telling the audience he was hired to do whatever the people wanted him to do, even if that included voting in favor of slavery.
"If that’s what they wanted, I’d have to hold my nose, I’d have to bite my tongue and they’d probably have to hold a gun to my head, but yeah, if that’s what the citizens of the, if that’s what the constituency wants that elected me, that’s what they elected me for," Wheeler said. "That’s what a republic is about. You elected a person for your district to do your wants and wishes, not the wants and wishes of a special interest, not his own wants and wishes, yours."
Wheeler was referencing a 2010 blog post by conservative activist Chuck Muth, who asked, facetiously, if Wheeler would "bring back slavery" if "it's what the citizens want."
"So I wrote him a letter back and said, 'Yeah I would,'" Wheeler told attendees.
Video of Wheeler's remarks spread quickly yesterday after it was brought to the attention of his colleagues by Laura Martin, communications director for the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada.
Following a significant outcry, Wheeler attempted to walk back his comments, telling the Las Vegas Sun he was merely exaggerating for effect, and wouldn't actually vote for slavery if it ever came up.
Wheeler further insisted that he was being painted as a bigot by "liberal" operatives, and that no one in that meeting took him literally.
But at least two individuals outside of the meeting took Wheeler's words literally.
Senator Dean Heller (R-NV), who called Wheeler's statement "insensitive and wrong," and State Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson (R), who called it "outrageous" and "embarrassing" and "just plain said."
"It's time for Jim Wheeler to find a new line of work," Roberson tweeted.
[screengrab via KTVN]