A Kansas County commissioner is facing calls to resign and issue a public apology after telling a black woman that he is part of the “master race” during a routine public planning meeting Tuesday.
Leavenworth County commissioner Louis Klemp, a white man, appeared to direct his remarks at a woman presenting a land-use study for an architecture firm.
“I don’t want you to feel like I’m picking on you. Because we are part of the master race,” Klemp said. “You have a gap in your teeth. We are part of the master race, don’t you forget that.”
“I was shocked. I was in disbelief,” said commissioner Robert Holland. “He should resign. I don’t care if he’s got two days left, he should resign.”
“What’s this master race?” Holland said on Wednesday. “None of us are a master race. We are all Americans, we are all human beings. I think he is a racist. I do. I think he owes an apology to that woman. I think he owes an apology to the whole commission. And the county.”
“I’m ashamed of one of our commissioners and what he has done. We shouldn’t be labeled as Leavenworth County, the racist county. That’s the way I feel we are being labeled.”
Klemp was appointed to his role as commissioner by the Republican committee after another member resigned due to ill health, reports KSHB-TV.
Last year, Klemp made local headlines after comments he made regarding Robert E. Lee and George Washington in a routine meeting set to approve the county’s holiday schedule.
“Not everybody does them all because we have Robert E. Lee…Oh God, Robert E. Lee, wonderful part of history,” the commissioner said, referring to the Confederate commander during the American Civil War. He said his great, great grandfather had owned a slave and claimed that George Washington would never be given a holiday because he owned slaves.
“It bothers me that if we’re going to have Martin Luther King Day, why don’t we have a George Washington? I think George was a pretty important guy,” he later added.
“Mr. Klemp certainly embarrassed Leavenworth County to the extreme,” Holland stated. “I just believe that he embarrassed himself, his family and our Leavenworth County taxpayers.”