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Congressman Comer: There Are No 'Good Guys' in the Neo-Nazi and White Nationalist Movement, cropped

Republican U.S. Congressman James Comer says there are no 'good guys' in the neo-Nazi and white nationalist movement. 

The Kentucky First District Congressman recently returned from a trip to Israel where he met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other officials. Comer was in Paducah on Thursday for a Chamber of Commerce luncheon where he met a receptive audience and discussed many of the issues he has touched on in his series of town halls like healthcare and deregulation. His remarks in this story were part of a media Q&A. 

He said there is "no question" he opposes white supremacist groups linked to violence at a recent Confederate monument rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. "There's no room for white nationalists or neo-Nazis. I don't want them marching anywhere in my congressional district," Comer said.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has published a map identifying hate groups in the United States, including four in west Kentucky.

Comer said President Donald Trump could "do a lot better" in easing racial tension and hopes the president will work to bring people together. He added that members of Congress are spending too much time "trashing the president." Trump has been widely criticized for his statements on Charlottesville.

Comer said, "We're all disappointed with the president's statements with respect to Charlottesville. There's no question about that. We've all expressed our displeasure with his statements but we need to move forward and we need to focus on the number one issue, which is the economy."

Confederate Statues

The Charlottesville events have sparked national debate over the fate of Confederate statues across the country, including many in Kentucky. Some say the statues symbolize racial oppression and others say they’re a valuable part of history.

Comer said the decision to keep or remove Confederate monuments are for state and local governments to decide. “Whether they remain or whether they go will be a local decision. The Jefferson Davis statue at the Capitol, the Jefferson Davis monument, those are state issues.”

Governor Matt Bevin has said removing the statues is a ‘sanitization of history,’though as a gubernatorial candidate, Bevin said the statue of Jefferson Davis in the Capitol Rotunda should be moved to a museum.

Louisville and Lexington are assessing the future of their statues. A statue of General Lloyd Tilghman in Paducah and a school named after his wife are at the center of dueling online petitions asking the city commission to determine its future.

This story has been updated. 

Matt Markgraf joined the WKMS team as a student in January 2007. He's served in a variety of roles over the years: as News Director March 2016-September 2019 and previously as the New Media & Promotions Coordinator beginning in 2011. Prior to that, he was a graduate and undergraduate assistant. He is currently the host of the international music show Imported on Sunday nights at 10 p.m.
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