(Charlotte Observer) - Frustrated by weeks of protests, a North Carolina lawmaker has lashed out at what he calls “gutless wonders in public office who are bowing down to Black Lives Matter.”
Republican Rep. Larry Pittman of Cabarrus County called protesters “ignorant thugs,” “criminals,” “domestic terrorists” and “vermin.” If they resist and attack police, he said they should “shoot them.”
“This is war,” he wrote on Facebook Monday. “Our people have a right to expect our leaders to be on our side, not surrender to the lawless, godless mob.”
Pittman, 65, is running for his fifth term. He faces Democrat Gail Young in November.
His Facebook post came in response to the protests for racial justice that have swept the country following the police killing of George Floyd of Minneapolis.
“These vermin don’t care about George Floyd or any other individual, except maybe their financial sponsor, George Soros,” Pittman wrote. “They are bent on destroying our country and our way of life, and they will use any tragedy, any slogan, any excuse to convince clueless people that their radical injustice is justice.”
Pittman, a pastor, declined to comment Tuesday.
“Sorry, I don’t do interviews,” he said in an email.
On Facebook, he said if he were in charge he would order police to take back their cities, arrest “these domestic terrorists,” and “If they resist and attack you, shoot them.”
“Law and order must be restored,” he wrote. “Innocent citizens have a right to expect elected officials and law enforcement officers to protect them and their property. They also have a right to defend themselves with deadly force if they are able.”
Since taking office, Pittman has had a flair for controversy.
▪ In 2017, he compared Abraham Lincoln to Hitler.
“Lincoln was the same sort if [sic] tyrant, and personally responsible for the deaths of over 800,000 Americans in a war that was unnecessary and unconstitutional,” he wrote.
He later tried to walk that back, saying, “While both Lincoln and Hitler were obviously bad guys, what Hitler did was worse and I apologize if people thought I was putting them in the same league.”
▪ Pittman made the Hitler comparison in response to a Facebook comment criticizing a bill he’d introduced that would nullify, at least in North Carolina, the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.
▪ And shortly after being appointed to the House in 2011, he wrote every member of the General Assembly urging a return to public hangings, including for doctors who perform abortions.
He has also criticized Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, who has ordered restrictions on public gatherings in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.
”I haven’t drunk Cooper’s Kool-aid,” he posted Sunday. “I’m not going to freak out over someone getting close to me without a mask or gloves. The risk has been seriously exaggerated in order to control people.”
Young, his Democratic opponent, criticized Pittman’s most recent post.