In November, Republican Vance McAllister won an upset win in a Louisiana special election for Congress with the backing of the Robertson family from Duck Dynasty. Many political observers credited their support with McAllister's win over a state legislator with significant institutional backing. On Thursday, McAllister issued a statement offering some support for Phil Robertson, whose controversial statements about homosexuality led to the reality star getting an indefinite suspension from A&E, the cable network which airs the show.
After repeated requests for comment from The Daily Beast, McAllister's office issued a statement Thursday evening on the matter:
"The Robertson's [sic] are great people and great friends of mine. Everyone is criticizing a reality star that became so popular by being himself.
"A real journalist asked Phil a real question and he gave him a real answer based on his opinion, and because it's not politically correct, people are turning on him. This is America where you have the right to say what you believe and what's in your heart. Everyone, including A&E, should respect other people's opinions. It's not [sic] place to judge anyone. People have to live by their own values. I, as I know Phil does, love the God we worship and all our neighbors, the two most important commandements and our core values."
McAllister's statement is far milder than those issued by other politicians. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal condemned a "politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints, except those they disagree with" and sorrowfully said "it is a messed up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets suspended." Also fervently coming to the aid of the Robertsons was former Alaska governor and fellow reality television star Sarah Palin who wrote on her Facebook page "free speech is an endangered species. Those “intolerants” hatin’ and taking on the Duck Dynasty patriarch for voicing his personal opinion are taking on all of us."
In contrast, the newly elected Louisiana congressman's statement was far milder. Then again, McAllister, who supported Medicaid expansion during his campaign, may be more moderate than either Jindal or Palin.