Kelly says reporter 'mischaracterized' conversation about Trump tweets
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman Mike Kelly says his words were taken out of context during an interview about President Donald Trump’s tweets toward four minority congresswomen over the weekend.
During an interview Tuesday afternoon with VICE News, senior political reporter Daniel Newhauser asked Kelly what he thought of the President telling four born or naturalized representatives to “go back” to the country they came from.
Kelly said things are going “way beyond the pale” and that he is also a “person of color.” Newhauser tweeted that latter comment Tuesday afternoon and it caught fire on social media.
VICE later tweeted the full interview, which they shared with Erie News Now for this story. You can listen to that interview here.
Kelly said he hadn’t seen Trump’s tweets, which were posted Sunday, until a staff member showed him earlier this week. That led Newhauser to explain the tweets and ensuing perception.
“What people are saying is that it’s racist because it’s like telling a black person to go back to Africa. You don’t think so?” asked Newhauser.
“I think we’re going way beyond the pale right now,” Kelly said. “They talk about people of color, I’m a person of color. (audible) I’m white, I’m an Anglo-Saxon. People say things all of the time and I don’t get offended because people say things.”
“Has anybody ever told you to go back to your country?” Newhauser asked.
“Yeah, I have as a matter of fact,” Kelly said.
“Which country?” Newhauser asked.
“Ireland,” Kelly replied. “With a name like Kelly, you can’t be from any place else but Ireland.”
Kelly issued a statement to Erie News Now Tuesday evening downplaying the conversation and said the VICE reporter took his words out of context.
“The reporter’s tweet mischaracterized our conversation and my broader point: We’re all created equal,” Kelly said. “It’s time to stop fixating on our differences and focus on what unites us.”