FROM STAFF REPORTS
Two days after making comments on the floor of the N.C. House of Representatives that were widely viewed as racist, Rep. Jeff McNeely issued a statement apologizing for what he called an unintentional “misstep.”
“There are times in life where we all misstep in unintentional ways, and this past Wednesday was one of those times for me,” McNeely, a Republican who represents a large swath of Iredell County, said in the statement. “As a result, I want to again offer my sincere apology from the very bottom of my heart to Abe Jones, my fellow Representatives, and to the good people of Iredell County.”
During a debate on the House floor, a video of which went viral on Wednesday, McNeely interrupted Rep. Abe Jones, a Harvard educated lawmaker and retired judge from Wake County. After Jones yielded the floor, McNeely proceeded to ask Jones if his academic success was because he was an athlete or a minority, which immediately drew the ire of some of his colleagues.
The video has garnered more than 1.5 million views on Twitter, and a version posted on YouTube by The News & Observer has been viewed more than 178,000 times.
While Jones handled the situation with grace, the Twitter-verse has not been as kind as McNeely. He’s been called ignorant and labeled a racist and a clown, and there have been numerous calls on social media for his resignation or removal from the House.
Todd Scott, the president of the Statesville Branch NAACP, said on Friday that McNeely’s comments would not soon be forgotten.
“Rep. Jones forgave Rep. McNeely and I did too,” Scott said. “However, we won’t forget what he said. It’s 2023, and we’re still judging people by their skin color and not by the content of their character. It wasn’t taken out of context. He stood up like a man and said it — because he probably believed it.”
Meanwhile, McNeely said he is focused on self-improvement.
“In the future, I will work to be better prepared and more conscientious with my words,” he said. “It is my hope that you will accept my apology and know that I work everyday to become better.”
Statement issued by Rep .Jeff McNeely (R-Iredell)
“There are times in life where we all misstep in unintentional ways, and this past Wednesday was one of those times for me. As a result, I want to again offer my sincere apology from the very bottom of my heart to Abe Jones, my fellow Representatives, and to the good people of Iredell County. I’m sure there will be folks who think I am offering this apology in the interest of politics, but I assure you, that is not the case. It was never my intention to belittle or insult a friend who is a fine man on all accounts. I am very passionate about the legislation we were discussing, and that passion led me to put my words before my thoughts. My intent was to ask a question that would help me understand how we help more young people become an Abe Jones, because that is what we need in this world. I truly want every child to have the best opportunity to get a quality education. I should have framed the question in the appropriate way to express my desire to find ways to help all children succeed as Abe has done. In the future, I will work to be better prepared and more conscientious with my words. It is my hope that you will accept my apology and know that I work everyday to become better. God’s not finished with me yet. Sincerely, Jeff McNeely
11 thoughts on “Rep. McNeely apologizes for ‘misstep,’ vows to work to become better”
Your first words showed us who you really are, Mr. McNeely. Your attempt at damage control now is too little too late.
You embarrassed all of the people that you represent. Did you even think about what you were about to say? Is this the type of logic you use in making decisions for the people in your district? This was beyond stupid. Do not try to backtrack now. Your true colors have come through.
If Rep. McNeeley wants children to have a quality education, why is he co-sponsoring legislation that takes money from traditional public schools and gives it to the charter schools? That is just as unforgivable as his racist comments.
Because he is a Talibangical. They are attempting to “put god” back in schools. They will stop at nothing.
Thankfully, we do have a God of grace. We also have Luke 6:45 “…For out of the overflow of his heart, his mouth speaks.” We all need to check our hearts so that the history lessons I teach in a (horrors!) public school are not repeated.
You’d best not vote Republican then.
Sometimes people speak and THEIR TRUE self comes out. Hidden bias and prejudice, hidden no more. He’s upset because has been caught in such a public way and it may cost him votes. We can do better.
Resign, resign, resign. You bigot!!!
You should resign immediately. Your comments were insensitive and racist.
Your attempt to make Rep. Abe Jones appear inferior and less deserving had a reverse effect. His response recieved a standing ovation rather than the chuckles you tried to evoke.
May your heart know truth and joy.
We have all said things we regret. I know that Rep. Jeff McNeely has done more for blacks in Iredell County than most. Thanks for serving Iredell in many ways, Jeff. We can move forward.