A New Hampshire Republican state representative is under fire over comments he made on Facebook claiming that “owning slaves doesn’t make you racist.”
Representative Werner Horn made the remarks in the comments of a Facebook post by a former state lawmaker. The former lawmaker, Dan Hynes, expressed skepticism that President Trump is the most racist president in history, using the example of slave-owning presidents.
That’s when Horn chimed in: "Wait, owning slaves doesn’t make you racist.” In response to critics, Horn doubled down in later comments, calling slavery a mere “business decision,” according to screenshots of the now-deleted post published by HuffPost.
Horn’s comments have been widely condemned, including by his own party.
“Representative Horn is wrong and his comments are not based in our platform’s belief in free people, free markets and free enterprise,” New Hampshire GOP chair Stephen Stepanek said in a statement. “Slavery throughout its history in the United States was a racist, inhuman, and immoral practice.”
Horn confirmed to the Globe that he was the author of the Facebook comments. He reiterated that he believes slavery in America was “economically driven” and called it an “abhorrent and immoral practice.”
Horn said that he’s heard from constitutents who are both supportive of him and oppose him, and called his critics “largely ignorant people” who buy to a false narrative that “American slavery is somehow different than slavery in the rest of the world.”
Horn, who lives in Franklin, added that he wasn’t making the comments in his capacity as an elected official but rather as a private citizen.
“There’s no evidence at all that I’ve ever acted in a racial manner,” he said.
The Facebook post has since been deleted by Hynes, who said he disagreed with Horn.
Christina Prignano can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @cprignano.