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Kelly IDs himself as a 'person of color'

July 18, 2019 Digital Media Exclusive

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Butler lawmaker wants focus on unity

U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly of Butler caused an uproar during an interview with Vice News when he called himself a “person of color,” but insists the statement is not racist.

In the interview, the reporter asked Kelly, R-16th, several questions about President Donald Trump's recent tweet that four women U.S. representatives should “go back” to their countries and fix the problems there.

Three of the women are American-born and one is a naturalized citizen.

All four are freshman Democrats.

Kelly chuckled at the Vice News interviewer as he faced the questions on whether Trump's tweet was racist because the women are people of color.

“I'm a person of color. I'm white,” Kelly said.

The comment caused a furor of sorts among Democrats, who are incredulous that Kelly considers himself a person of color.

Kelly was back at work Wednesday on the House floor and unable to speak to the Eagle regarding his comment, according to his spokesman, Andrew Eisenberg.

However, Eisenberg sent two statements from Kelly regarding the matter.

“My broader point in the five-minute long exchange was apparently lost, so let me say it again: It's time to stop fixating on our differences — particularly our superficial ones — and focus on what unites us,” Kelly said.

Kelly's statement went on to call out Democrats and the media, saying such attempts to “divide and define us by race are harmful to our nation's strength.” He called on the nation to elevate its level of discussion, contending that most Americans would agree.

Kelly also offered a statement regarding his Tuesday vote against a resolution condemning Trump's tweets regarding the four female U.S. representatives.

“Democrats are more concerned with attacking the president and using labels to define and divide us than doing the job Americans sent us to Washington to do,” Kelly said in his statement, adding, “I don't wake up in the morning obsessing about tweets, whether they are the president's or anyone else's.”

Kelly said he is focused on more important things “like building on the best economy America has experienced in half a century, reforming our broken immigration system, securing our border, fixing our crumbling infrastructure and much, much more.”

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Paula Grubbs

Paula Grubbs

Paula Grubbs is a Butler County native who has been with the Butler and Cranberry Eagle newspapers since June 2000. Grubbs has covered the Mars School District and Middlesex Township for over 20 years with the Eagle and her former employer, the Cranberry Journal. She also covers Adams Township, Evans City and Mars in addition to events and incidents throughout Southwestern Butler County as assigned. Grubbs has taken the lead at the Cranberry Eagle in reporting on shale gas development, which has been a hotly debated topic in the recent past, both locally and nationally. A 1979 graduate of Butler Senior High School and a 1994 graduate of Geneva College, Grubbs has won a Golden Quill and four Keystone state awards, plus an award from the Society of Professional Journalists. Grubbs enjoys following the Penguins, Pirates and Steelers, volunteers with the Connoquenessing Creek Cleanup each summer, and loves spending time outdoors and bird watching at her Penn Township home. Grubbs is the daughter of James R. Davis Sr., of Center Township, and the late Maxine Davis. She has two grown children, Jacqueline and Thomas.