Tea Party Leader Backs Proposed Summit On Racism

A leader of the Tea Party on Sunday called for a national “tea summit” to ease tensions over race in America. In a face-off between the conservative political movement and the NAACP on CBS “Face the Nation” on Sunday, TeaParty365 co-founder David Webb said the head of the NAACP was practicing “selective racism” in calling on the party to denounce members that use racist language. Webb, an African-American, accused NAACP President Benjamin Jealous of “playing the race card” for suggesting that fringe elements attending tea party rallies were representative of all members of the movement. He also cited steps the party was taking in an effort to be more inclusive, such as planning an upcoming unity rally and expelling Tea Party Express spokesman Mark Williams for a letter satirizing the NAACP that Webb called “offensive.” Webb also welcomed the idea of holding joint town hall meetings with the NAACP, recalling the meeting President Barack Obama hosted last July with Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., who is an African-American, and police officer James Crowley, who is white, following an altercation between the two men. “Think what it would mean to this nation if we would have an open forum and a real tea summit–instead of a beer summit–on race relations,” he said, referring to the Obama-initiated meeting between Gates and Crowley. Jealous said he was open to the idea, but said the forum should address issues other than race. “There should be no debate about racism,” he said. While praising Webb for speaking out against racism, Jealous called for other tea party leaders to “come out and say things nationally.” Vice President Joe Biden said on ABC News’s “This Week” that neither he nor President Barack Obama believed the Tea Party was a racist organization. “Elements that were involved in some of the Tea Party folks expressed racist views…but I wouldn’t characterize the Tea Party as racist,” he said.