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Lott's Latest Apology Misses the Point

Press Release
Peter Montgomery
People For the American Way
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Apology for recent words ignores decades of hostility and insensitivity toward civil rights principles and protections

Today in a Mississippi press conference, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott offered another apology for his latest statement that Americans would have been better off if Strom Thurmond had won his 1948 bid for the U.S. presidency on a segregationist platform.

“Senator Lott missed an opportunity to do the right thing and resign as majority leader, and President Bush missed an opportunity to show moral leadership by asking him to step down,” said People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas. “Lott doesn’t get the major point of the past week – the American people aren’t simply angry about his recent comments, they’re appalled by the accumulating evidence of his public record over several decades.”

“President Bush was right to criticize Lott’s comments,” said Neas. “But that’s not enough. Lott’s continued leadership of the Senate is an embarrassment to the nation. President Bush must insist that Lott step down as majority leader. His Senate colleagues have a responsibility to elect someone else to lead the Senate.”