Bryant "Corky" Messner, an attorney and military veteran who is running for the GOP nomination in the race for U.S. Senate, says the country needs to “broadly discuss issues around race." If elected, he said, he would "bring together people from various factions, including those African Americans who view the race issue in a different way than what we hear from the left."
Speaking on The Exchange, Messner addressed issues of systemic racism, the pandemic response, and health care reform. To hear the full interview, and read the transcript, visit here:
Messner has been endorsed by President Trump, who has taken heat for his handling of racial strife, including from some top military leaders, such as former defense secretary General James Mattis, who criticized the President's handling of unrest in Washington, D.C. earlier this summer, calling him divisive.
Some military leaders have also said they are open to discussing renaming U.S. military bases named for Confederate figures -- an idea President Trump has strongly opposed.
Messner said monuments honoring Confederate generals and the Confederacy need to come down but in a deliberate way.
"I think you need to do it in a reasoned way with the local community and do it in a way that doesn't incite more violence and the violence that's going on in tearing them down. I believe that some of those statues should be in museums with full disclosure of what those folks did and what the Confederacy stood for."
Messner said he does not support Black Lives Matter, calling it a “revolutionary movement" associated with calls to defund the police -- a national campaign described by many supporters as an effort to refocus public spending on such programs as education, healthcare and housing that can help alleviate social problems.
“I support funding for social services and mental health services for sure. I think those are very, very important things. I don't believe that that should be done at the expense of less money for law enforcement. We can do both."
Messner said he supports certain police reforms -- removing “bad cops” and improving training on skills such as de-escalation of violence -- but takes issue with the idea of diverting money from policing to address such issues.
Governor Sununu has praised the Black Lives Matter groups active in New Hampshire on several occasions, appointing Ronnelle Tshiela, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Manchester, to serve on the recently formed Commission on Law Enforcement Accountability, Community, and Transparency -- a response to the national outpouring of upset over police brutality in such cases as the death of George Floyd.
Messner, a staunch supporter of President Trump, whose photo is prominently featured on his campaign web site, said he was scheduled to speak before the President's appearance in Portsmouth that was abruptly cancelled Friday, citing weather concerns.
In response to an Exchange listener asking why Granite Staters should vote for him, Messner described himself in this way: “I'm pro freedom, I'm pro economic freedom, I am pro individual liberty, I am pro Constitution. I believe in civil liberties. I believe in equality for all. I believe everyone should have an opportunity to pursue the American dream.”