Lott, the former Senate Majority Leader and Republican senator,
came under fire for racist comments that he made about Strom
Thurmond, which insulted minorities. Lott, a Mississippi
native, spoke of his pride for J. Strom Thurmond, a Dixiecrat
and segregationist, in 1948, and declared that the nation’s
problems would be eliminated had he been elected president.
The comments came at a celebration of Thurmond’s 100th
birthday and retirement from legislature.
Republican support among minorities is on a rapid decline.
Colin Powell, the African American Secretary of State, said
that he was disappointed in Lott. Jeb Bush, the governor
of Florida said the comments were damaging to the Republican
Party, but he said nothing of the minorities that were angered.
It has been discovered that Lott has a history of transgressions
that have to do with African Americans. He called blacks
into his office to pose in photos for his media profile,
leaving a false impression that he works with blacks all
His party also featured gospel music, and break dancing
in the 2000 convention, to grab some support from blacks,
though the presence of African Americans at that convention
diminished to a mere 4% , a historic low.
Some people felt that though the comments were inexcusable,
they were not very surprised by the remarks, saying that
there were and still are numerous people that think this
way. Senator Robert C. Byrd, for example (Democrat from
West Virginia) is a former member of the KKK. For some,
it also brings back painful memories of the segregation
in the ‘50’s and ‘60’s, and the
violent struggle to end it.
What is disturbing is that it is coming from someone as
influential as our Senate Majority Leader, who heads the
most powerful branch of our government.
Trent Lott came on Black Entertainment Television (BET,
which is white-owned) to deliver his latest apology to the
masses that he offended. He came on national television
to talk about how many black friends he has, to reject the
allegations that he is a racist, and to assure people that
all the comments that he made were a mistake, though they
fit in with all of the deeds and other words of his career.
had dug a hole for himself that was too deep to get out
of, before his TV time had even ended. It was the mixing
of political pressure and race issues that made Trent Lott
finally resign a few days later. But his feelings live on
in many a politician today.
In Lott’s first press conference after his resignation,
he stated that he had only himself to blame. He also insists
that he was targeted for being a Mississippian, Conservative,
and Christian which many people disliked. Trent Lott’s
successor, Robert Frist is a physician who tends to lean
towards the passing of bills which benefit the pharmaceutical
It has been rumored that Lott resigned quickly in a deal
to keep his position in Senate, and become the leader of
Homeland Security. Some insist that he was pressured by
his party, because his messages expose the feelings of some
or most of the party’s members. One thing though,
is certain; this is not the end of Trent Lott’s career.