A Colorado representative from Weld County claimed blacks and white Republicans were lynched in “nearly equal” numbers for being Republican in the post-Reconstruction era.
The Colorado state lawmaker made the comments on the House floor last Friday During a discussion over a resolution about the impact of Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Colorado House of Representative.
Saine stated, "We have come a long way on that arc since the Reconstruction since whites and blacks alike were in nearly equal numbers lynched for the crime of being Republican...Our march of justice is not over when a member of this body who represents all races, creeds, and religions is told that Martin Luther King does not represent her heritage.”
She then went on to allege that a fellow lawmaker was told her skin color was the reason she couldn’t introduce a resolution honoring King.
Saine said she delivered the comments with little preparation, based on things she'd read. She clarified that she meant only the earliest days of post-Civil War Reconstruction. However, the article Saine said she referenced is an amateur statistical analysis that looks at data from a later period and makes no reference to party affiliation.
She also cited Reconstruction-era Congressman John Lynch, who wrote generally about violence against both blacks and whites in his histories of that era.
Saine’s Democratic colleague in the House, Denver Rep. Leslie Herod, who chairs the General Assembly’s Black Democratic Caucus, called the comments disappointing and divisive.
“The lynching comment is extremely problematic, in the sense that it really does kind of take away and hide some of the dark past that this country has faced,” Herod said Monday. “And if we’re not honest about our history, if we don’t face our past, then we’ll never be able to move forward as a nation and a country. And so her comments really sought, I think, to water down the realities of the march for justice and for civil rights.”
Saine has past Controversial incidents including the time when she brought fried chicken to a meeting of the legislature’s poverty task force in 2013, and when she brought a loaded handgun to the Denver International Airport in 2017.