"We cannot rewrite history," Smith said Friday.In a news release Saturday, Democrats not only called for Smith's apology.
Speaking by phone, Smith later added that he did not want blacks "to feel any type of anxiety when they look at the flag."But Smith then questioned the motives of Blake, who is black."I don't know whether he's got any anger or resentment that he's holding onto personally, that he can't deal with," Smith said.
Democratic Party of Arkansas Chairman Michael John Gray responded,“I am profoundly disturbed by Representative Smith’s racist remarks. Rep. Smith is hellbent on embarrassing himself and embarrassing our state by bringing a racist ideology front and center. He attacked Minority Leader Charles Blake not because he wanted to engage in an honest policy discussion, but because he believes Leader Blake’s race inhibits his ability to legislate.The Democratic Party noted that Smith holds a seat once held by Joh Hubbard, who stirred controversy with racial remarks, including calling the institution of slavery "a blessing in disguise."
There is no room in the Arkansas Legislature for people who hold beliefs like this.
Racism this deeply woven into an elected official's remarks requires immediate and swift action. He needs to apologize both for his use of demeaning, insensitive language and for his deliberate racist attack. I am calling on Governor Asa Hutchinson, House Speaker Matthew Shepherd, Majority Leader Marcus Richmond, and the Chairman of the Arkansas Republican Party Doyle Webb to condemn Rep. Smith in the clearest and strongest possible terms. I know Rep. Smith’s feelings and words are not indicative of the Republican Party as a whole and their leaders should make that clear to the people of Arkansas."