Republican lawmaker Eric Porterfield, who is under fire for homophobia, has doubled down by joking about drowning his children for being gay.
West Virginia Republican state delegate Eric Porterfield has been facing criticism for comments he made on February 6 comparing gay people to the KKK.
Addressing the controversy in a February 10 interview with local TV outlet WVVA, the outspoken Trump supporter stuck by his remarks while wearing a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat.
Republican lawmaker Eric Porterfield on a gay son: ‘I’d see if he could swim’
Asked how he would react if one of his children came out as gay, Porterfield said: “Well, my daughter… I would take her for a pedicure, I’d take her to get her nails done… and see if she could swim.
“If it was my son, I would probably take him hunting, I would take him fishing… then I’d see if he could swim.”
Pressed on what “see if he could swim” means, a grinning Porterfield replied: “I just want to make sure they can swim.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Porterfield, who was elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates in November 2018, doubled down on claims that gay people are “bullies, tyrants and oppressors.”
What would Del. Porterfield do if his son thinks he’s gay or if his daughter thinks she’s a lesbian? He would “see if they can swim.” It’s disturbing how quickly the WVVA reporter moves on. pic.twitter.com/ESb3EswfZz
— Jake Jarvis (@JakeJarvisWV) February 11, 2019
He said: “It will not be long before they’re burning rainbow flags in people’s yards… they are the modern-day version of the KKK without hoods.
“The KKK suppressed a particular group of people, and that’s exactly what the LGBTQ does. Their socialist agenda is to attack people who disagree with them.”
Porterfield added: “I wear my MAGA hat today, even though I’m very much in fear of the terroristic activities they engage in.”
The official insists he is not homophobic, however, adding: “It’s not an anti-gay sentiment, it’s an anti-LGBTQ sentiment.”
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MAGA lawmaker Eric Porterfield condemned by Republican leaders
The West Virginia Republican Party has condemned Porterfield’s comments, though he remains a member of the party in the state legislature.
“These comments are unacceptable and we denounce them. They have no place in America.”
— West Virginia Republican Party
In a statement, the party said: “As West Virginians, we are taught to respect one another, love our neighbors, and when we disagree to seek understanding of our fellow Mountaineers.
“In recent days, Delegate Eric Porterfield has made comments that are hateful, hurtful, and do not reflect the values of our country, our state, and the Republican Party.
“These comments are unacceptable and we denounce them. They have no place in America.
“We may disagree on policy, politics, and the direction of our state, but we can disagree civilly and respectfully because intolerant and hateful views hold us back, divide us, and hurt our state.”
West Virginia Democrats chair Belinda Biafore said: “Delegate Porterfield needs to resign. West Virginia has no room for someone who expresses such hate, let alone room for him to hold a public office where he is supposed to represent the people of West Virginia.
“His hate-filled remarks and actions speak volumes.”
Biafore also criticised the lack of action against Porterfield from the GOP, questioning the lack of action against him.