A state lawmaker in Arizona is in hot water over comments that he made about immigration and the racial makeup of the border state.
A video clip of David Stringer, a representative in the Arizona State House, has been shared online showing a portion of a speech he gave to a local Republican group.
Stringer, a Republican, is heard saying “there aren’t enough white kids to go around” and “the demographics of our country will be irrevocably changed.”
Stringer said that 60 percent of Arizona’s public school children are minorities, and argued that statistic showed that the state and country are in for massive change.
“That complicates racial integration because there aren’t enough white kids to go around,” Stringer said Monday at a local Republican group’s event.
“Now when you look at that 60 percent number for our public school students, just carry that forward 10 years, 15 years: it’s going to change the demographic voting base of this state and that’s what’s going on around this country. Immigration is politically destabilizing. President Trump has talked about this. I’m very concerned about this.
“Immigration today represents an existential threat to the United States. If we don’t do something about immigration very, very soon, the demographics of our country will be irrevocably changed and we will be a very different country. We will not be the country you were born in,” he is heard saying on the video.
The video was shared by David Schapira, a candidate for the state’s public school superintendent. Schapira told ABC News that he first saw a roughly 20-minute video which included the 51-second clip was originally posted on Stringer’s own Facebook page on Tuesday, but has since been deleted.
An AZ legislator made these overtly racist comments about our students. It’s time to remove xenophobic radicals from elected office this November! We deserve leaders who understand we’re a nation of immigrants who bring a diversity of experiences & ideas. https://t.co/P5I9QpUHDI pic.twitter.com/NSrJS2WZA3
— David Schapira (@dschapira) June 13, 2018
Stringer posted a statement Wednesday afternoon, attempting to characterize the story as “fake news” and a distortion of his views.
“My political opponents have taken 51 seconds out of a 16 minute speech to try to distort my message and mislead voters. We recognize the tactic. I’m not interested in taking the fake news bait,” Stringer said in a statement on his Facebook page.
“My comments about school integration were factually accurate and were intended to illustrate the challenges facing successful integration when white students are a rapidly declining percentage of the whole. This issue cries out for honest and open public discussion. Regrettably, my political opponents seek to shut down discussion with name calling and vile accusations,” he said in the statement.
The controversial comments prompted criticism from both sides of the aisle.
“David Stringer’s comments do not in any way reflect the beliefs or values of Chairman Lines or the Arizona Republican Party,” said Ayshia Connors, a spokesperson for the Arizona Republican Party.
“He should apologize to his constituents, and to the people of Arizona. We are proud of our diverse, vibrant state and believe that Mr. Stringer’s comments have no place in our party, or in the state of Arizona,” Connors said in a statement to ABC News.
Ed Gogek, a Democrat running for Stringer’s seat, told ABC News that he thinks Stringer is “clueless.”
“I don’t think he really understands how racist this is,” Gogek told ABC News. “The people he’s talking about, these are American citizens but because they’re not white he doesn’t see them that way.”
Jan Manolis, another Democrat running for Stringer’s seat, called him “an extreme right-winger” and told ABC News she found his comments “disgusting.”
Carlos Galindo-Elvira, the regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, said that the group found the comments “shockingly inappropriate.”
“Quite frankly there’s no place within our state government for this kind of type of hateful messaging by an elected official,” Galindo-Elvira told ABC News.