“Hungry and cranky”: GOP candidate Seth Grossman’s bizarre defenses for why he shared white nationalist propaganda

“Hungry and cranky”: GOP candidate Seth Grossman’s bizarre defenses for why he shared white nationalist propaganda

Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI


Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

According to GOP congressional candidate Seth Grossman, he shared a racist commentary piece because he got “duped by a clever racist piece"; was following the lead of "Allen West, a retired Black Army Commander"; didn’t actually click the link he shared; was upset at Black Lives Matter; wanted to “defend police”; and “was hungry and cranky” (among other reasons).  

Grossman is a right-wing commentator and lawyer who is the Republican nominee for New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District. He also has a long history of making bigoted remarks.

As Media Matters recently documented on July 9, Grossman promoted white nationalist propaganda, including a piece on a white nationalist website which claimed that Black people “are a threat to all who cross their paths, black and non-black alike.” On December 30, 2014, Grossman linked to the piece on one of his Facebook accounts and commented:

Oy vay! What so many people, black, white and Hispanic, whisper to me privately but never dare say out loud publicly. Back in the Old Country, people were very careful about what they said for fear of retaliation. At one time, America was a free country and people were not afraid to express their true thoughts. Am just posting this as an individual and not on behalf of any organization.

He also shared the piece on his personal Facebook page with an abbreviated version of the above commentary. Following Media Matters' report, the National Republican Congressional Committee subsequently withdrew its support for him.

Grossman has been attempting to do damage control ever since. In his initial comments to Media Matters, he attempted to distance himself from the comments, claiming that he “never visited” the site that posted the openly racist piece about Black people (despite linking to and commenting on that piece) and doesn’t endorse its claims. He also said he got “the post from Alan (sic) West” (Allen West, a right-wing pundit and former Republican congressman, praised the piece on December 29, 2014).

Grossman’s excuses since then have only gone further downhill. Here is a summary. 

Grossman again blamed Allen West, writing that he was just "sharing a post from Allen West, a retired Black Army Commander” (Grossman's original Facebook posts did not mention West). 

"These silly attacks are simply bizarre to both friend and foe who have known me for decades here in Atlantic County," Grossman said. "I've been an outspoken opponent of racism and anti-Semitism for decades -- everyone knows that. But what is just crazy is how the National Republican Party is freaking out over sharing a post from Allen West, a retired Black Army Commander,” declared Seth. [Grossman for Congress, 7/10/18]

After claiming that Media Matters is “falsely attacking” him, Grossman smeared Media Matters by saying it caused the deaths of police officers. (Grossman provided no actual evidence to back his false claims.)

“In 2014, the same Media Matters falsely attacking me, led the call to protest our police officers, leading to many of their deaths,” Grossman said. “Republican leaders in Washington, and career politicians like Jeff Van Drew, should apply the same standards to those whose false and hateful generalizations helped cause the deaths of 126 police officers in 2016.” [Grossman for Congress, 7/10/18]

Grossman said he shared the white nationalist piece “to defend police.”

[Facebook, 7/11/18]

Grossman blamed Black Lives Matter.

Grossman said that he posted the story because at the time the Black Lives Matter movement had created a climate of hostility toward police, portraying officers as “getting up every day looking for an unarmed teenaged black kid to murder.”

Grossman said that climate of hostility led to an increase in shootings of police.

“So the purpose of sharing that article was to show that there’s another side of the story,” Grossman said. “That many of the black teenagers, though unarmed, were very, very violent, and very, very dangerous, and that the police out in the street had to deal with some ugly situations.”

The piece from American Renaissance doesn’t refer to Black Lives Matter protests or police shootings. [WHYY, 7/10/18]

Grossman said he got “duped by a clever racist piece.”

On Wednesday, Grossman reiterated that he was tricked into posting the article, because it was also shared by former Republican Rep. Allen West, who is black. "I got duped by a clever racist piece," he said. [The Star-Ledger, 7/12/18]

Grossman “told an editorial writer that he was hungry and cranky.”

He also told an editorial writer that he was hungry and cranky, the same excuse he used after an earlier video surfaced of him calling diversity "crap." [The Star-Ledger, 7/12/18]

Grossman: "I want to make minorities more prosperous and independent, and you can't fix a problem without talking about it."

He defended his record as a longtime attorney serving minority communities in Atlantic City and Pleasantville.

"I want to make minorities more prosperous and independent, and you can't fix a problem without talking about it," he said. [WCAU, 7/12/18]

Grossman: “If you look at each post and the news I was reacting to, it’s just reasonable commonsense comments."

He said his path to victory is through Trump supporters and winning over the very minority voters disparaged in social media posts he has shared.

"When you take two dozens posts out of maybe 6,000 posts or shares over a 10-year period, it looks inflammatory, which is why they do it," Grossman said. "But if you look at each post and the news I was reacting to, it’s just reasonable commonsense comments." [WCAU, 7/12/18]

Update (7/16): During an appearance on NJTV, Grossman claimed of the piece: "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." But the beginning of the piece was also extremely bigoted and contained numerous "racist generalizations."

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