SORRY: Rep. Brandt Smith isn't. But he really IS. If you get our drift. BRIAN CHILSON

KATV followed up on responses to the Democratic Party’s call for apologies for Republican Rep. Brandt Smith’s ugly remark about Democratic Rep. Charles Blake after Blake introduced legislation to redefine the symbols on the Arkansas flag to omit the Confederacy. In short: No apologies.

Blake proposes to have state law say the single blue star above Arkansas stands for Indian tribes rather than Arkansas’s participation in the Confederate States of America. Smith, earlier an opponent of the end to a holiday for slavery defender Robert E. Lee, is having none of it. He commented:

“I don’t know whether he’s got any anger or resentment that he’s holding onto personally, that he can’t deal with.”

It was an ugly personal remark that had no bearing on the proposed law change. The Democratic Party called it blatantly racist and asked for his apology as well as  condemnation by Gov. Asa Hutchinson, House Speaker Matthew Shepherd and House Majority Leader Marcus Richmond. They all offered excuses for Smith.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson

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“First of all, Rep. Blake initiated his proposed legislation in a respectful and responsible manner that tries to minimize cost to the state, if a change is indeed adopted. In terms of Rep. Smith’s statement, it was inappropriate, but I don’t believe he intended any harm by it. Now we need to move on and debate the merits of the legislation. And, as we continue with the legislative session, it’s important that we all show respect for each other as we debate the important issues facing our state.”

House Speaker Matthew Shepherd, R-El Dorado

“I have spoken to Rep. Smith regarding the article. He advises me that he had no ill intentions with his comments. At this point, I see no reason not to take him at his word. Rep. Blake’s bill will be afforded the serious discussion and deliberation it deserves in the House.”


House Majority Leader Rep. Marcus Richmond, R-Harvey

called Smith an outstanding representative and that he does not have a single racist bone in his body.

Nothing to see here. Smith, a former Southern Baptist missionary, means well. Like when he’s talking about the evils of Sharia law or the family damaging aspects of pre-K education or the threat of same-sex marriage or waving his gun around or, well, you name it.

You know the drill: Being a Republican means never having to say you’re sorry.

PS: This very week Smith got committee approval of a resolution to encourage law enforcement to stop cooperating with the Council on American-Islamic Relations. He repeats critics’ talking points of the group’s supposed ties to groups linked to terrorism. It disputes this, in court even. As do others.  The Arkansas legislature has a hard time getting the Civil War right and now it’s opining on the Middle East.

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His credentials, according to Wikipedia:

In 1990, Smith received a Bachelor of Arts from the National Louis University in Chicago, Illinois. In 1997, he obtained a master’s degree in Religious Education from Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, in South Germantown, Tennessee, since relocated to Cordova, near Memphis, Tennessee. In 2011, he received a Ph.D. in Management Leadership from Capella University in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

….Since 2012, Smith has been an associate professor of Security and Global Studies at the on-line American Military University, with administrative headquarters in Manassas, Virginia.