U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill on Saturday called for a Missouri state lawmaker to resign over calls he made to controversial Belleville radio host Bob Romanik's show.
McCaskill, a Democrat who represents Missouri, called for the immediate resignation of state Rep. Bob Burns, a Democrat who represents parts of the St. Louis area.
McCaskill issued the following statement: “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.
Her statement continued: "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.“
Romanik, in an interview Saturday, said Burns has called his show to discuss military and police issues, not racial issues. He said Democrats are supposed to be supporters of free speech, regardless of standpoint.
"Bob Burns has never said anything racial to me. Who the hell do they think they are?" Romanik said. "This is America, but these liberal bastards have forgotten that."
Burns could not immediately be reached for comment.
The Missouri Democratic Party also issued a statement Saturday calling for Burns to resign, saying there is "no room for racist, misogynistic or homophobic language in America."
Missouri state Rep. Gail McCann Beatty, who represents part of the Kansas City area and serves as the Democratic leader in the state House, also issued a statement calling for Burns' resignation. Beatty said she recently learned of "disturbing records of calls by Rep. Bob Burns to a St. Louis-area radio show whose host is notorious for making racist on-air comments."
In one recording of Romanik's "Grim Reaper" radio show on KQQZ, a caller identified as Burns told Romanik: "You're saying the right things. I just appreciate the fact that you stand up and tell it like it is."
Beatty said Burns has called into the show "repeatedly," which is "reprehensible given the host’s well-known racist views."