South Jersey Republican congressional candidate Seth Grossman is facing a barrage of backlash for sharing a racist article from a white nationalist website on social media. Liberal watchdog group, Media Matters for America, highlighted Grossman’s social media post, which targeted blacks and Islam. Immediately following, members of his own party-including the National Republican Congressional Committee urged him to drop out of the 2nd Congressional District race. Seth Grossman spoke with Chief Political Correspondent Michael Aron.
Aron: Here’s what Grossman said in an April debate that caused a bit of a firestorm: “In my view, the best way to bring diversity to the Republican Party is for Republicans to openly say that the whole idea of diversity is a bunch of crap and un-American.” What did you mean, diversity is a bunch of crap?
Grossman: Well, first of all that remark did not cause any firestorm at all in the context it was made. It only became a firestorm after I won the primary unexpectedly, and then of course the Democrats released it to the Philadelphia papers the following day. But, obviously from the question that was asked, diversity, we were talking about it in terms of a political goal, a virtue for hiring people, or promoting people or giving people scholarships. And I do believe that the only qualification, or the only guideline to hire people, promote people, give scholarships, is an individual’s own talent, character, skill and achievement. To hire people or promote people, based on how many diversity boxes they fill, or what group they belong to, is a bunch of crap and un-American.
Aron: You said that Kim Guadagno only became the Republican nominee for governor because she’s a woman and people thought that she would check off that box.
Grossman: No, what I did is remember that was in the context of a primary where one of the four candidates was an Indian-American and he was actually going around saying, vote for me because I can bring more diversity and color to the party. And I said, just one flip remark, well, you saw that with Kim Guadagno and you saw how that worked out, right? Especially since the Democrats picked an old, white guy just like me.
Aron: You’ve been accused now of being a racist. There appeared on your website in 2014 a post from something called ‘American Renaissance’ that argued of African-Americans they cannot reason as well, they cannot communicate as well.
Grossman: I didn’t read that.
Aron: How did that end up on your website?
Grossman: What happened was, I don’t know if you know a fellow called Col. Allen West, black congressman from Palm Beach, very respected. Well, back in 2014, you know what was going on back then, it was the ‘hands up, don’t shoot’ narrative where the media relentlessly for four and a half months was saying every police officer in America got up hoping to gun down an innocent unarmed teenager in the inner cities. And because of that, 126 officers were murdered, an increase of 25 percent. And Col. Allen West, who’s black of course, shared a, what seemed to be a reasonable, post pointing out that many of the people that the police would confront on the street were a bunch of thugs, and it described in great detail …
Aron: They cannot communicate as well?
Grossman: We both got fooled. It was a cleverly written, racist piece, like most clever propaganda. At the top it was saying all reasonable stuff, and then at the bottom, the part hardly anybody ever read, it had these racist generalizations. So Col. West got duped by it. I got duped by it. A bunch of other Republicans got duped by it, but I didn’t realize it until three and a half years later when the Democrats came out with it.
Aron: You said recently, to The New York Times, that you don’t really understand why there’s so much outrage over separating children of illegal immigrants. Is that true? You don’t see those faces on the news at night and understand?
Grossman: I’m a lawyer. I’ve been in criminal court, and whenever people commit crimes and they break the law and dad goes to jail, or mom goes to jail, it’s heartbreaking to see what happens to the children. But when adults commit crimes, when adults break the law, they are consequences for their children. What we either have to do, is either we enforce laws, or we don’t enforce laws.
Aron: So you’re not a racist?
Grossman: I mean, to even suggest that, I mean I feel like I’m back in Russia with my grandparents when Jews were accused of killing Christian children to use their blood for Passover, it was called blood libel. So just because someone is running against you, and just because somebody disagrees with you, and you don’t want to talk about the issues, so you call them a racist. That makes it real easy, doesn’t it?
Aron: There have been consequences for you. Among them the fact that the head of the National Republican Congressional Committee has disowned you and said you should step aside.
Grossman: They disowned me before I even won the primary. I was not their favorite in the primary. So I beat their candidate. They didn’t like me from day one. They didn’t give me a nickel of support. Know what I got from them? I got a book on how to organize your day and a battery pack engraved with the name of Kevin McCarthy. That was the total contribution the national Republicans gave to me. So they took away something they never gave to me in the first place.
Aron: You painted a picture of the good old days when one parent worked and the other took care of the kids.
Grossman: Yeah, when America was great.
Aron: When America was great. You don’t think that we need men and women in the workforce in equal numbers?
Grossman: No, not in equal numbers. If they want to. I know back when America was great, 1950s and 60s, house was 25 percent of your income, right? You could earn enough money on the boardwalk to pay for a year of college and still have money for seven beers at Maloney’s, or seven beers at The Anchorage. Back then health insurance only covered “major medical,” so if you sprained you ankle or had a sore throat, you paid for it out of your pocket. And you could afford it because it was only two or three bucks, and the doctor would come to your house. There were a lot of things we did right in the 1950s, 1960s. Now we’ve changed everything, and I’ve been part of a group called libertyandprosperity.com, which would have breakfast discussions talking about what we did right back then, what we did wrong back then and how we can make America great again. By the way, when America was great, they say Americans never locked their doors. In Atlantic City we never closed our doors the place was so safe.
Aron: You don’t embrace the idea of America as a great melting pot?
Grossman: Yeah, a melting pot, but that’s not what we have today. Remember, when America was great, until Ted Kennedy screwed up our immigration laws, we had 300,000 legal immigrants a year which meant that all the immigrants who came were welcomed, they quickly became Americans and they did not depress wages. Now, under Ted Kennedy, we quadrupled the number of legal immigrants, plus millions of illegal immigrants. We now have low wages, people can’t talk to each other because we have 20 different languages. There’s no assimilation going on, and I think we’d be better off if we went back to the immigration policies we had before Ted Kennedy screwed them up.
Aron: Last question, how do you beat very well-known Democrat Jeff Van Drew in the November election?
Grossman: Well, I’m a very well-known Republican.
Aron: You’re a talk radio host down in Atlantic City?
Grossman: I’m a talk radio host. I had a nonprofit group. I was the only one who stuck up to fight the 10-year tax break for casinos, so I’ve been out there. And also, our district voted for President Trump in 2016. So if I hold the Trump voters and I keep the friends I made in Atlantic City by sticking up for them, regardless of race, color and creed. And I’ve been a successful attorney who took a lot of unpopular cases for people of all races and nationalities, so I think I have a path for victory in November.