Officials call for resignation of Georgia state lawmaker after TV appearance
ATLANTA - He has just a few months left in office, but many state officials publicly called for a lawmaker's resignation Monday after his appearance on a national television show.
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State Representative Jason Spencer, R-Woodbine, was featured on the Showtime program "Who is America?" Sunday evening. On the show, Spencer shouted a racial slur and bared his buttocks all under the guise of participating in an anti-terrorism training video.
"The actions and language used by Jason Spencer are appalling and offensive. There is no excuse for this type of behavior, ever, and I am saddened and disgusted by it," Governor Nathan Deal tweeted Monday morning.
Spencer has served in the Georgia House of Representatives since 2011.
"The actions and language used on this video are reprehensible. Representative Spencer has disgraced himself and should resign immediately," said House Speaker David Ralston, R- Blue Ridge, in a statement. "Georgia is better than this."
Ralston said House leadership will look into filing an ethics complaint against Spencer.
"Enough is enough," said Edward Ahmed Mitchell, executive director of CAIR Georgia. "This behavior is unbecoming of anybody, but especially someone who is a state legislator. It is an embarrassment to the state of Georgia every minute that he continues to serve in office."
Rep. Spencer has faced political criticism in the past. In 2016, he authored a "Burqa ban" bill that would have outlawed Muslim women from covering their faces for driver's license photos and while driving. He later pulled the bill after public backlash. Spencer also apologized last year after making threatening comments to a fellow lawmaker over Confederate monuments.
Mitchell said he offered to sit down with Rep. Spencer to open a dialogue with the Muslim community, but that never happened.
"I regret that he didn't because if he had sat down with Georgia Muslims and talked to us and learned the truth, maybe he wouldn't be in this situation right now," Mitchell said.
Spencer had previously endorsed Secretary of State Brian Kemp to be the Republican candidate for governor in Georgia. After his comments, the Kemp campaign removed Spencer's endorsement, saying "words and behavior are hurtful, insensitive, and completely unacceptable."
Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle called Spence a "disgrace to Georgia" in his response and pointed out that Spencer "actively opposed" his campaign.
Rep. Spencer's term will end later this year after he was defeated in the May primary.