Mississippi House Rep. Karl Oliver, a funeral director from Winona, will take on a new role as vice chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee. The Republican lawmaker's promotion comes despite a Facebook comment he made in 2017 in which he wrote that state leaders in Louisiana deserved to be "LYNCHED" after New Orleans city leaders removed a number of Confederate monuments from public display.
"If the, and I use this term extremely loosely, 'leadership' of Louisiana wishes to, in a Nazi-ish fashion, burn books or destroy historical monuments of OUR HISTORY, they should be LYNCHED! Let it be known, I will do all in my power to prevent this from happening in our State," Oliver wrote on May 20, 2017.
Speaker Gunn Appointed Oliver, Whom He Once Condemned
Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn, a Republican from Clinton, announced Oliver's new committee leadership appointment on Wednesday.
The house speaker condemned Oliver's remarks in 2017, saying they "do not reflect the views of the Republican Party, the leadership of the House of Representatives, or the House as a whole."
"Using the word 'lynched' is inappropriate and offensive. We call on Rep. Oliver to apologize," Gunn said at the time.
Gunn also announced that House Rep. John Read, a Gautier Republican, will keep his position as chairman of the House Appropriations committee—the top position.
In 2017, the Jackson Free Press noted that Read was one of two Republicans who "liked" Oliver's Facebook post; the other was Rep. Doug McLeod, whom a judge acquitted last year on a domestic violence charge accusing him of punching his wife.
Amidst an avalanche of backlash, Oliver said in 2017 that he wished "to extend (an) apology for any embarrassment (he had) caused to both my colleagues and fellow Mississippians." He acknowledged that using "the word 'lynched' was wrong," but said he only made those