Well, that didn’t take long. Less than three weeks after resigning from the Tea Party Express “to free the tea party movement from any more distraction based on my personal comments or blogs,” Mark Williams is back at the helm of a tea party group.
As former TPMer Zachary Roth reports, Williams is a leader of the newly-founded “Citizens for Constitutional Liberty,” a PAC “that plans to support conservative candidates and promote grassroots activism among Tea Partiers.”
Williams, of course, is one of the few tea party leaders to come under direct criticism from other tea partiers. His blog posts and public statements, which tea partiers have endeavored to separate themselves from of late, led to his public grilling for a week following the “satirical” blog post about the NAACP that led to his resignation.
Williams isn’t talking about his new tea party venture, according to Roth. But his partners are, and they say Williams’ past is nothing to worry about.
“This latest flap is garbage,” one group founder told Roth. “They want to throw the word racism out there these days. It’s overused.”
But another member of the team behind Citizens for Constitutional Liberty addressed the Williams situation on the group’s blog in a way that suggests Williams’ new tea party home is trying to keep his rhetoric at the same arm’s length that the Tea Party Express did.
“While I find many of his comments distasteful and do not condone those sorts of messages, it is not my right to take away his Free Speech guaranteed by our First Amendment,” writes Mandy Morello, one of the group’s founders. “After all The Tea Party is not to pick and choose one’s interpretation of these Amendments to suit ones personal opinion.”
Morello writes that Williams is “not a racist,” but she says she has started the new group with her eyes open about what working with Williams might mean down the road. Morello writes that no matter what Williams might say in the future, she does not have “the right to apologize for his actions or have the authority to ‘kick him out’ for any other reason than something that is illegal.”
Still, it’s clear that the new leaders hope to make it clear that what Williams does is his business — not the new tea party group he’s a leader of.
“I am not under the illusion that Mark will stop being Mark just because we are partners in this fight,” she writes.