A Kansas county commissioner is under fire after he talked about the “master race” in a public conversation with a black city planner last week.
Louis Klemp, the chairman of the Board of County Commissioners in Leavenworth County, offhandedly threw out the phrase during a board meeting Tuesday, video of which was posted on the county’s YouTube channel.
“I don’t want you to think I’m picking on you, because, we’re part of the master race,” Klemp said to Triveece Penelton, a city planner with the Kansas City consulting company Vireo, as he shot down her proposals. “You know, you got a gap in your teeth, you’re the master’s. Don’t ever forget that.”
Mark Loughry, the county’s administrator, said the comment was “misconstrued” and that Klemp was saying both he and Penelton are part of the master race of “those with a gap in their front teeth.”
“The use of the term ‘Master Race,’ as ill-advised as it may be, was not a reference to Nazis or used in a racist manner in this instance,” he wrote in a statement.
But the Leavenworth mayor called for Klemp’s resignation shortly after the meeting.
“It affects all of Leavenworth. This has been such negative publicity. It affects us. It affects the city,” Mark Preisinger said in a statement Thursday. “It’s a stain on our community and it has to be removed.”
Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer joined the growing group Saturday and also requested Klemp step down.
“Racial and discriminative language have no place in our society, and most especially when spoken by someone holding a public office,” Colyer said in a statement. “The inappropriate remarks made by Leavenworth County Commissioner Louis Klemp are unacceptable and do not reflect the values of the county which he represents. As such, I call on him to step down as County Commissioner.”
Klemp has not publicly commented on his quote.