Dec. 17, 2002 — -- Spike Lee blasted Senate Republican Leader Trent Lott as a "card-carrying member" of the KKK and says black top officials in the Bush administration are being too quiet.
Lee says Lott's controversial toast at Sen. Strom Thurmond's 100th birthday party confirms the Mississippi lawmaker is a racist, and rejects his apology.
"Look at the man's statements. The man's a segregationist. It's the same thing," said Lee today on ABCNEWS' Good Morning America.
"If you think the country would have been better if ol' redneck Strom Thurmond would have been elected, it's the same thing," Lee said.
At the party, Lott said the country would be better off today if Thurmond had been elected when he ran for president back in 1948. At the time, Thurmond ran on a segregationist platform, although he later recanted that position.
The director, famous as a provocateur, said he had no proof that Lott was affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan, but that his Dec. 5 remarks praising Thurmond made him a good candidate for the racist organization.
"[Get him] out of here," Lee said. "The man is a card-carrying member of the Klan. I know he has that hood in the closet."
Lott has apologized several times for his comments. His latest mea culpa came Monday night on Black Entertainment Television, — and he said that if he stays on as Senate Republican leader, he can pursue an agenda that would help blacks.He did not issue a reaction to Lee's comments.
Lott had been expected to take over as Senate majority leader when the new Congress convenes next month, but GOP senators plan to meet Jan. 6 to decide whether he would be too much of a liability to their agenda in Congress and to President Bush's re-election plans.
Lee called on top black officials like Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice to speak out. "They are prominent African-Americans and they haven't said peep," he said.
Lee had come on Good Morning America to talk about his new movie, 25th Hour, and a children's book that he wrote with his wife. After the caustic remarks, the controversial filmmaker returned to discussing his work, joking, "I guess no one is going to the movie now."