GOP Lawmaker Doesn’t Care If President Used the N-Word Before Becoming President

Holding Trump accountable would set a “bad precedent.”

Donald Trump

Brian Cahn/ZUMA

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Michael Williams, a Republican state senator from Georgia, went on TV Saturday morning and declared that he would be upset if Donald Trump spewed racial slurs. That may seem simple enough, but apparently, it’s actually quite complicated. Williams, you see, went on to explain that while he would object if Donald Trump—the individual—used the N-word, he couldn’t care less if Donald Trump—the president—used the N-word before becoming president.

“It would matter as an individual,” Williams told CNN’s Victor Blackwell. “It would not necessarily matter to me as the person that is running our country.” And, Williams said, it “sets a bad precedent” to hold Trump, the president, accountable for allegedly using the N-word before becoming president.

Make sense? No? Well, let Williams explain:

“I always have a problem with the use of it,” Williams told Blackwell. “I don’t have a problem with Donald Trump, having used it in the past, as my president.”

“I would always say using the N-word is wrong, and is bad, and should never be accepted in our society,” he added. “But just because [Trump] might have done it years ago, not as our president, doesn’t mean that we need to continue to berate him because he used it.”

The question came up after former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman claimed that a recording existed of Trump using the racial slur while on the set of the Apprentice. Earlier this week, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters she could not guarantee that the American people would never hear such a recording, but Sander noted that she had not heard the president say the word. On Monday, Trump denied ever saying the word.

Williams might sound familiar to close watchers of Georgia politics. During the states GOP gubernatorial primary, Williams infamously launched a campaign tour on his “Deportation Bus,” which bore the messages: “Danger! Murderers, rapists, kidnappers, child molesters, and others on board,” and “Fill this bus with illegals.”

“We’re not just gonna track ’em and watch ’em roam around our state,” Williams said in announcing the tour. “We’re gonna put ’em on this bus and send ’em home.” He failed to make it through the first round of the May primary, earning less than 5 percent of vote.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend