An Arizona lawmaker complained to fellow Republicans that there weren’t “enough white kids to go around” in the state’s public schools and that immigration “represents an existential threat to the United States.”
State Rep. David Stringer made the comments at the Yavapai County Republican Men’s Forum Monday, where the lawmaker seemed to be bemoaning the number of minority children in the state’s public schools.
“That complicates racial integration because there aren’t enough white kids to go around,” Stringer said in his comments. “It’s going to change the demographic voting base of this state and that’s what’s going on around the country. Immigration is politically destabilizing.”
The comments have drawn sharp rebukes, including from Stringer’s own political party, which called on him to apologize.
“David Stringer’s comments do not in any way reflect the beliefs or values of Chairman [Jonathan] Lines or the Arizona Republican Party,” Ayshia Connors, spokesperson for the Arizona Republican Party told BuzzFeed News in a statement. “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.”
Stringer’s comments were first spread on social media by David Schapira, a Democrat running for Arizona’s Public School Superintendent.
Stringer also drew a line linking his comments to President Donald Trump, who has pushed for a crackdown at the southern border and has himself been also criticized for his rhetoric against immigrants.
“President Trump has talked about this, I’m very concerned about this,” Stringer said. “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 that you were born in.”
Stringer’s office did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed News requests for comment.
The Anti-Defamation League’s Arizona chapter also spoke out against Stringer’s statement, calling them “shockingly inappropriate.”
“Arizona’s cultural and ethnic diversity is its greatest strength, not a reason to sow fear and division,” Rebecca Rios, Arizona house minority leader told BuzzFeed News in a statement.
She called Stringer’s comments reprehensible and a “source of national embarrassment for our state.”
“We work side by side with Rep. Stringer and our Republican colleagues and want to think the best of them,” she said. “But when will they stand up to divisive rhetoric like this that echoes fervent racists and white nationalists like David Duke?”