The outrage resulted from remarks Moran made during an interview with the U.S.-backed Arab news network Alhurra after last week's State of the Union. Here’s what he said:
[Democratic losses in the midterms] happened because of the same reason the Civil War happened in the United States. The Civil War happened because the Southern states, particularly the slaveholding states, didn't want to see a president who was opposed to slavery. In this case a lot of people in this country, I believe, don't want to be governed by an African American, particularly one who is inclusive, who is liberal, who wants to spend money on everyone and who wants to reach out to include everyone in our society.
Disregarding the comparison between a midterm election and the Civil War, we’re zeroing in on the core of Moran’s remarks: that Democrats lost dozens of seats in November because “a lot of people in this country … don't want to be governed by an African American.”
Moran is no shrinking violet, and Anne Hughes, his spokeswoman, defended his comments in a statement:
With nearly 1,000 identified hate groups in the U.S. and recent studies showing a majority of Americans believe racism is still widespread against African-Americans, it is no secret that our country has and continues to struggle with racial equality. The Congressman was expressing his frustration with this problem and the role it played in the last election. Rather than ignore this issue or pretend it isn't there, the Congressman believes we are better off discussing it in order to overcome it.