Rich Nugent Avoids a Firestorm on Immigration

By: Jeff Henderson | Posted: July 21, 2014 3:55 AM
Rich Nugent

Rich Nugent

Rich Nugent was in the rare position of making headlines in recent days but avoided making a firestorm over his comments on immigrants. 

Nugent appeared on WOCA in Ocala on Monday and offered his take on the border crisis, saying a “lot of these children” are “gang members” and “gang-affiliated.” Saying many of the illegal aliens come from “gang-infested” nations where they experience a “culture of thievery” and a “culture of murder, of rape,” Nugent warned about the impact they would have in America.

While some of the politically correct crowd tried to create a fury over Nugent’s comments, they garnered little notice when all was said and done. Even the DCCC didn’t go after Nugent’s remarks.

Part of that stems from Nugent’s background. Long before he was elected to Congress back in 2010, Nugent was an established leader in law enforcement, eventually becoming sheriff of Hernando County. Nugent warned about MS-13, which he defined as the “most aggressive of all the street gangs,” on the radio and this week saw a flood of stories about that gang at the border and around the country. On that front, Nugent appears to have had his finger on the pulse.

Nugent also got a bit of a pass since he has the luxury of what is shaping up as an easy re-election effort. Democrat businessman Dave Koller has an uphill fight on his hands as he tries to take Nugent down in November. By the end of June, Koller raised $7,160 from other individuals and is floating his campaign by loaning it around $23,800. With only $5,278 in the bank at the end of June, Koller needs to crank up his fundraising if he wants to be remotely competitive in this Republican district.

For his part, Nugent had $138,270 on hand at the end of June, thanks in large part to more than $147,300 in PAC donations. If needed, Nugent could easily bring in more. Regardless, nobody sees this race as competitive, which helps explain why the DCCC and other liberal groups didn’t make a big deal about his comments on immigrants. Throw into the mix Nugent being spot-on with his analysis and the matter simply did not draw much attention.

Despite his low profile, Nugent has been a fairly effective congressman in his first two terms. With Koller struggling along and national Democrats not even bothering going after him for his immigration comments, Nugent should expect to continue his congressional service for another two years.

Tallahassee political writer Jeff Henderson wrote this analysis piece exclusively for Sunshine State News.

Comments (4)

Gary Green
1:47AM JUL 24TH 2014
Correction on previous reply,,,there is a type, it should be Dave Koller! (Obviously)
Gary Green
1:44AM JUL 24TH 2014
Here are comments by Dave Killer on Rich Nugents remarks:

My opponent, Rich Nugent interviewed on an Ocala, Florida radio station said about the child immigration crisis.

"A lot of these children... quote-unquote... ya know, the first caller mentioned it, ya know, they're gang members. They're gang affiliated."

He added, "Listen if you're 14, 15, 16, 17 years old and you're coming from a country that's gang infested, particularly with MS-13-types. That is the most aggressive of all the street gangs. When you have those types coming across the border, they're not children at that point. These kids have been brought up in a culture of thievery…a culture of murder, of rape. And now we are going to infuse them into the American culture. It's just ludicrous.”

His comments have been mentioned across the internet as an example of the shameful response from the GOP about desperate children that are migrating to the United States. The clip form his radio interview has been held up to ridicule on Politics Nation on NBC and Anderson Cooper 360 as well as on other shows and blogs.

Yes, I do realize that the system that we currently use to deal with undocumented immigrants, particularly child immigrants is broken. And yes, there needs to be reform across the board. We should be addressing the situation rather than using demagoguery to instill fear and create hate and dissension. The spirit of America is inclusive not exclusive. There is a word for lumping people together in one generalization and denigrating an entire culture! It’s a word not befitting the people of Congressional District 11 in Florida, or of any member of the government of the United States.

It is sickens me that the lives of these children are being defined by such hateful rhetoric. In the clip of the Nugent interview he says, “ I believe that some members of MS-13 have come across the border. I know that only because of the reports from FOX News from Phoenix that reported in an interview with the president of the Border Patrol Union that was talking about just that particular issue and there was about 16 that were identified because of the tattoos they had. Doesn't mean they are all identified.” That is 16 out of 50,000 kids. A percentage of .00032 of the kids were identified as having ties with the MS-13 gang. His statement is not only shameful it’s irresponsible. Its hate mongering and tribalism that is as old as time. America is better than that. Florida 11 is better than that. The United States is about equal justice, liberty and the dignity of the individual human being.

I applaud the many church groups that have responded with love and humanitarian care to these children whom age from 4 to 17. Just as they are under the law, they are seen as individual human beings, children who need care, not the “invading brown horde coming to thieve and rape” that Nugent’s hateful and cowardly rhetoric would make them out to be.

Nugent is not the only politician that is using this issue irresponsibly. Republican Adam Kwasman made sure that he was in place to be filmed with a group of protesters that were screaming at a bunch of kids on a bus. When he saw a bus he went on camera to say how scared the kids looked. Kwasman failed to realize at the time that the bus in question was actually filled with kids from the YMCA program. Keep in mind that the adults gathered for the protest were there to harass and scare children. I find that reprehensible.

Yes, we need to find a solution. No, we don't need to fuel hatred and acrimony with wrong- headed, hysterical misinformation and hateful rhetoric! We are a nation of laws and justice and inclusionary spirit. We have the tools and machinery to fix what needs fixing if we do the work. We need lawmakers willing to do the work, willing to face and talk to each other
and do what it takes to fashion solutions that will benefit us all. That’s why I am running, that’s why I entered this race. We need lawmakers who WANT to do the work rather than obfuscate, demagogue, stir controversy or stoke fear; politicians with more on their minds than slandering desperate and innocent children. I want to lead by appealing to the best that’s in us rather than the worst. I want to return to a viable, workable politics. We can’t always agree, but we can and certainly should find solutions by putting Country Before Party!

David Koller
Candidate for US Congress FL-D11

Anderson Cooper Keeping Them Honest Video Transcript Dana Bash speaks to Richard Nugent (scroll down to second video)

Politics Nation with Al Sharpton- July 15, 2014 Video Transcript

The Daily Banter Blog: Outreach: GOP Rep. Says Immigrant Kids Might Be Thieves, Murderers and/or Rapists

Read: 14 facts that help explain America's child-migrant crisis by Dara Lind
6:57AM JUL 22ND 2014
Yes. The Republican mantra, fearmongering before facts.
Moral relativism at its most grotesque.
Eggs and the luky one in a billion sperm are "people."
Brown skinned children are not people.
9:53AM JUL 21ST 2014
Good Job Rich Nugent you have been an excellent Representative for Florida. Continue to answer questions with straight on what the true problem is answers will win you votes over money any day of the week. To bad Rick Scott thinks money beats out honesty, too bad for the voters.

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