The Republican Arkansas state legislator whose writing in favor of slavery has embroiled the state GOP in controversy is now defending his viewpoints on the subject.
State Rep. Jon Hubbard (R-Jonesboro) told the Jonesboro Sun on Tuesday that he continues to believe the viewpoints he expressed in a 2010 book that slavery was a "blessing" for blacks, TalkBusiness.net reports. In the book, Hubbard argued that blacks received a better quality of life as slaves in the U.S. than they did in Africa, and that African-Americans would not be in the U.S. were it not for slavery. Hubbard's comments -- first reported by the Arkansas Times on Friday -- led to a series of revelations about fellow Arkansas Republicans, including Rep. Loy Mauch (R-Bismarck) writing a series of letters to the editor defending slavery and legislative candidate Charlie Fuqua writing in a 2012 book that he wanted to deport all Muslims and establish the death penalty for rebellious children.
In the interview with the Jonesboro Sun, Hubbard said he did not know "any other way that black people in America could have gotten here." He also said slavery was not justified.
“Slavery was cruel, but as a result of slavery, we have African-Americans living in this country today who are living here in situations that are probably much better to endure than if they were living in Sub-Saharan Africa. If you had the choice knowing the lifestyle of people living in Africa and knowing the lifestyle of people living in the United States, which would you choose? Pure and simple.”
Where do you even begin in analyzing this quote? While he doesn’t say it directly in the above quote, he is once again basically stating that slavery was a “blessing in disguise.”
Another quote along the same line:
“But I think the end result -- that they [African-Americans] did get to live in America, although the means for getting here were terrible -- I think the end result was better than it would have been if they had to live in Africa themselves.”
Hubbard did not return multiple requests for comment Wednesday.
Hubbard's comments have set off a firestorm in Arkansas, with Republicans distancing themselves from Hubbard, Mauch and Fuqua. The state Republican Party announced that it will not be providing any more assistance to the trio. U.S. Reps. Tim Griffin and Steve Womack, along with the Benton County Republican Party and state Rep. Prissy Hickerson (R-Texarkana) -- all who have donated to either Hubbard or Mauch -- have all come out against the comments. Benton County Republican Chairman Mike Sevak also endorsed the Emancipation Proclamation in a Tuesday interview with HuffPost.
Americans for Prosperity, an advocacy group funded by the Koch brothers, has sent out mailers backing Hubbard and Mauch, but distanced itself on Tuesday from their slavery comments.
AFP spokeswoman Teresa Oelke told HuffPost that the group supports "an equal opportunity to pursue prosperity, regardless of race or ethnicity."
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Americans for Prosperity is a super PAC. The group is a 501(c)4 advocacy organization.