The chairman of the Oklahoma Democratic Party is refusing to back down from comments he made that likened convicted Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh to tea party activists.
Chairman Wallace Collins, who last week told a Fox News reporter that if McVeigh were alive today he would likely be a member of the tea party, reiterated his position Tuesday.
“I certainly stand by my remarks, because it's widely known that McVeigh was anti-government. I think that he was a right-winger, and I think the current tea party people, while I'm not saying that they're proposing violence, they're anti-government,” Collins said Tuesday. “They dislike the government. I don't know if you'd call them a government hater, but I certainly see them in a similar vein. Maybe they're an offshoot or offspring or next generation.”
McVeigh, who was convicted on federal murder charges for the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, was executed in 2001. The bombing, which resulted in the deaths of 168 people — including 19 children — remains the worst domestic terrorist attack in U.S. history.
Mallory Harvey, an organizer with the Norman Tea Party, dismissed Collins' comments as “totally absurd.”
“I just don't put much credibility in wild statements like that,” she said.
Matt Pinnell, chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party, said Collins' comments crossed the line of decency.
“Chairman Collins has stooped to a new low with his latest remarks,” Pinnell said in a statement. “This is as offensive and despicable as they come.
“To imply that a deranged madman who killed 168 people including 19 children is someone like me, a ‘right-winger,' is way over the line. He should immediately apologize for making that statement.”
Collins said he has no plans to apologize and accused Pinnell of trying to politicize his comments.
“I think there's a lot of things going on within his own party that he ought to be dealing with instead of trying to pick a fight with me,” Collins said.