Moments before Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) officially announced she was throwing her hat into the 2020 presidential race, a former Republican congresswoman used a somewhat antiquated colloquialism that other politicians have apologized for saying due to its perceived racist implications.
Discussing the crowded field of Democratic candidates vying to run against President Trump, Fox News contributor Kat Timpf said Saturday morning that the Democrats are “going to tear themselves apart” during the primary. She then noted that Warren and fellow candidate Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) are very different in terms of their policy beliefs.
This caused fellow panelist and ex-GOP lawmaker Nan Hayworth to reference the various scandals rocking the Virginia Democratic Party, claiming that situation will be an anchor weighing down Democratic presidential hopefuls.
“And they’ve all got the Virginia tar baby to deal with because Virginia is a major state for — right?” Hayworth noted. “It is, right? How do they handle that?!”
Meanwhile, Democratic strategist Antjuan Seawright laughed at her comment, possibly realizing just how the term “tar baby” will be perceived. Especially considering that much of the political controversy in Virginia centers on the governor and attorney general wearing blackface in the past.
Anyway, “tar baby” comes from the 19th-century Uncle Remus stories. In this tale, one of the characters makes a doll out of tar and turpentine so as to entrap another character. The more the second character fights with tar baby, the more entangled he gets. This story was included in Disney’s 1946 film Song of the South, which was not released on DVD or VHS due to accusations that the movie was racist.
Politicians in the past have been criticized for using the term due to its racial baggage, especially when tossing it out to describe a person of color. For instance, former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour apologized in 2014 after he called President Obama’s policies “tar babies.”
Watch the clip above, via Fox News.