Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) continued to stand by his recent comparison of the tea party to the Ku Klux Klan on Friday, during an MSNBC interview that ended with him accusing host Martin Bashir of "collaborating" with the conservative movement and its alleged racism.
Grayson began by defending a fundraising email that included an image of a burning cross that formed the "t" in "tea party." When Bashir pushed back, suggesting that Grayson may have taken his analogy too far, especially considering that the tea party hasn't actually lynched anybody, the outspoken Florida Democrat turned on the host.
“Do you think that racism is the same as calling out racism? Do you think that my effort to end racism in America is somehow analogous to racism itself? That’s ridiculous,” Grayson shot back at Bashir, who has himself made a habit of attacking the tea party for racially motivated attacks on President Barack Obama.
Grayson then suggested that Bashir was complicit in the tea party's supposed racism, in part because he'd questioned the appropriateness of the congressman's campaign email.
“The point I’m making is that if you don’t speak out against it, then in effect, you’re collaborating with it,” he said. “And, in fact, if you give someone like me a hard time for speaking out against it, then maybe you’re collaborating with it.”
Bashir has taken Grayson to task for inflammatory rhetoric in the past. In June, the two clashed after Grayson likened domestic spying by the National Security Agency to actions taken in North Korea or Nazi Germany.