An Arizona lawmaker reportedly doubled down on controversial comments he made earlier this week about the “existential threat” immigration poses to the country, and how “there aren't enough white kids to go around" in the state’s public school system.
State Rep. David Stringer made the comments Monday at a Republican men’s forum event near Prescott, Ariz., which gained traction after David Schapira, a Democratic candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction posted a video of the speech to social media, according to the Phoenix New Times.
“Sixty percent of public school children in the state of Arizona today are minorities. That complicates racial integration because there aren't enough white kids to go around," Stringer said, according to the paper. “Immigration is politically destabilizing. President Trump has talked about this. Immigration today represents an existential threat to the United States.”
While Democrats and pro-immigration groups condemned the comments as “overtly racist” and a “national embarrassment,” Stringer reportedly said he was “speaking the truth.”
“I maybe touched a third rail of politics but what I said is accurate,” he told the Arizona Capitol Times shortly a fter the comment. “Anybody that talks about this in this way is shut down and called a racist. I’m speaking the truth.”
The freshman lawmaker said while “diversity may be a great thing,” he added that “no country can be demographically transformed without any political or social consequences.”
In a Twitter post with the video of Stringer’s speech, Schapira said “it's time to remove xenophobic radicals from elected office,” while chastising the speech as “overtly racist.” Schapira told New Times he took the video from Stringer’s Facebook page, which has since been removed.
House Minority Leader Rebecca Rios, D-Phoenix, cited Stringer’s speech as a “"yet another source of national embarrassment for our state," The Arizona Republic reported.
Josselyn Berry, co-director for Progress Now Arizona, echoed those sentiments, calling the comments “dangerous, fear mongering and hateful,” according to the Republic.
Stringer, who is seeking re-election, was the face of controversy earlier this year after he voted in favor of keeping a fellow Republican lawmaker who was found to have sexually harassed women, the paper reported.