Democratic leadership in the Missouri House has called for the immediate resignation of a Democratic Representative over alleged calls to a radio show.
A statement Saturday from House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty of Kansas City said her office had learned about recordings of calls by Representative Bob Burns to a St. Louis-area radio show whose host is “notorious for making racist on-air statements”.
McCann Beatty acknowledged some of the recordings were edited but said the fact that Burns, who represents portions of St. Louis City and County, repeatedly called into the show is “reprehensible”.
The Minority Leader stated the talk show host has well known racist views and said the conduct of Burns would not be tolerated from any member of the Democratic caucus.
Democratic U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill also issued a statement Saturday condemning Burns for the alleged calls to the talk show.
McCaskill said she had learned of multiple call-in interviews in which Representative Burns expressed support and agreement with an individual who has delivered a “constant toxic stream of racist, sexist attacks on his radio show”. McCaskill urged Burns to resign immediately.
Missourinet is awaiting a response from Representative Burns after efforts to contact him over the weekend were unsuccessful.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that House Democratic spokesperson Marc Powers said leaders found out about the recordings Wednesday and investigated Thursday. According to Powers, McCann Beatty asked Burns to resign Friday but he declined. The Post-Dispatch reported that Burns said he called the radio show only to talk about veterans issues and non-controversial topics.
Democratic Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway issued a statement on Twitter, saying, “Hate speech should never be accepted or tolerated. We are obligated to challenge racism and those who espouse it. Representative Burns should resign his seat in the Missouri House.”
Burns, who is 69-years-old, has served in the Missouri House for six years as a representative of the 93rd District.
According to his biography posted on the House website, Burns worked for 33 years in the brewery industry and is a member of the First Baptist Church of Affton, International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
He worked on the Congressional Staff of U.S. Congressman Richard Gephardt from 1995-1999 and on McCaskill’s Senatorial Staff from 2007-2010.
House Minority Leader McCann Beatty’s full statement read:
“In recent days, House Democratic leadership learned of disturbing recordings of calls by Rep. Bob Burns to a St. Louis-area radio show whose host is notorious for making racist on-air statements. While we acknowledge some of the recordings have been edited, the fact that Rep. Burns repeatedly called into this show is reprehensible given the host’s well-known racist views. As a result, House Democratic leadership has asked Rep. Burns to immediately tender his resignation as state representative. We will not tolerate this conduct from any member of the Democratic Caucus.”
In her complete statement, Senator McCaskill said:
“It’s come to my attention that in multiple call-in interviews with KQQZ-AM Radio, Representative Burns expressed public support for – and agreement with – an individual who has delivered a constant toxic stream of racist, sexist attacks on his radio show.
Rhetoric like this is not only offensive – it stokes fear and division, and gives license to those who would perpetuate further toxic rhetoric and behavior. Rep. Burns’ public statements of support for this individual do not reflect the values of the state of Missouri. And his failure to challenge such hateful rhetoric is a disservice to the Missourians he represents.
I urge him to resign his seat in the Missouri General Assembly immediately.”