On Thursday, Rob Godfrey, the spokesperson for Gov. Nikki Haley, issued a comment on this story, which is now receiving national attention:
"State Rep. Kris Crawford's ignorant comment in no way represents the people of South Carolina - and it's a shame that the views of a few end up damaging the image of our state as a whole."
Democrats in the state legislature were fuming on Tuesday after learning of comments by Florence County House member Kris Crawford (R-63) that seemed to suggest he voted against Medicaid expansion because of politics and race.
Crawford was quoted in the Charleston Regional Business Journal on Jan. 29 as saying, "The politics are going to overwhelm the policy. It is good politics to oppose the black guy in the White House right now, especially for the Republican Party.”
Crawford is a medical doctor and said in the article that he supports Medicaid expansion. He did not immediately return a call from Patch seeking clarification on his remarks.
On Monday, Democrats held a press conference to call for a three-year expansion of Medicaid for the uninsured in South Carolina. On Tuesday, they condemned Crawford's comments, which they found especially disappointing since he appeared to be one of the few House Republicans willing to vote for expansion.
"Unfortunately Rep. Crawford made it clear that this was never about policy, and always about politics. And according to our Republican colleague, the President's race was a factor. I thought those days were over. The people of South Carolina deserve so much better than this," said Rep. James Smith (D-72).
Amanda Loveday, Executive Director of the South Carolina Democratic Party, said, "Obviously Rep. Crawford let politics overwhelm policy and agreed with his own comment 'it is good politics to oppose the black guy in the White House right now.' This wasn't about race; this was about 44,000 new jobs, over a billion dollars pumped into our economy and health insurance for 250,000 more South Carolinians."
House Republicans eventually defeated the measure as the vote went along party lines. Upon its defeat, Speaker Bobby Harrell released the following statement:
"If more money and more government produced healthier citizens, Americans should be the healthiest population on the planet - but we're not. The current system is clearly broken but instead of trying to fix this broken system, Obamacare simply makes it bigger. Unlike the unsustainable new spending of Obamacare, we have proposed real solutions that use existing resources to target more effective health options that will actually improve the health of our citizens."
This is not the first time Crawford has made headlines. He was convicted of tax evasion last November.