U.S. Rep. Pittenger says Charlotte protesters 'hate white people'

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – U.S. Congressman Robert Pittenger says Wednesday’s violent riots in uptown were started by protesters who hate white people for their success.

Pittenger made that statement while making an appearance on BBC’s Newsnight program Thursday.

“The grievance in their mind, the animus, the anger — they hate white people because they’re successful and they’re not,” Pittenger said.

The U.S. Representative from North Carolina went on to explain that he feels welfare has led to people becoming dependent on the government.

“It is a welfare state. We have spent trillions of dollars on welfare, but we’ve put people in bondage, so they can’t be all that they’re capable of being,” Pittenger said. “America was a country of opportunity, freedom and liberty. It didn’t become that way because of a great government who provided everything for everyone.

Pittenger’s comments were labeled racist by North Carolina Democratic Party Executive Director Kimberly Reynolds.

"These comments are inexcusable. At a time when we need calm and understanding while we learn more about the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, Congressman Pittenger is fanning the flames of hate with his racist rhetoric. This sort of bigotry has become all to common under the party of Donald Trump. Our great state should not be represented by someone who would make such hateful comments. Congressmen Pittenger must apologize, and Governor McCrory and every Republican leader in this state should denounce this hateful rhetoric immediately." Pi

Pittenger released a statement Thursday evening, saying he regrets how he answered a reporter's question. 

"What is taking place in my hometown right now breaks my heart. My anguish led me to respond to a reporter’s question in a way that I regret.  The answer doesn’t reflect who I am. I was quoting statements made by angry protesters last night on national TV. My intent was to discuss the  lack of economic mobility for African Americans because of failed policies. I apologize to those I offended and hope that we can bring peace and calm to Charlotte."

Copyright 2016 WCNC


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