Missouri State Representative Bob Burns is under intense pressure to resign from the Missouri House of Representatives.
Earlier this week House Democratic leadership discovered five recordings of him apparently calling in and praising racist talk-show host Bob Romanik on St Louis radio station KQQZ 1190 AM.
Bob Burns to white supremicist: “Keep up the great work”
Bob Romanik hosts a morning talk show on KQQZ – a minor radio station in the St Louis metropolitan area that broadcasts from Fairview Heights, Illinois. Dubbing himself “the
Grim Reaper of Radio,” Romanik regularly uses language that is seldom heard on an FCC licensed radio station: including frequent use of the “n-word.”
Following on n-word laced tirade about the coming awakening of white people in America on February 16th, Romanik took a call from someone he identified as Missouri Representative Bob Burns. Burns appears to be not only a regular listener, but is introduced affectionately by Romanik as a regular caller.
“With us, and it’s always an honor and a privilege to have state representative out of the 93rd district of Missouri, our good friend, state representative Bob Burns.”
Burns is effusive in his praise for Romanik, who at the time of the recording was running in the Republican primary for the Illinois State Senate district 57 (which he would later lose on March 20th).
“Well Bob,” Burns began, “I’m in town and I was able to listen to your show. I just wanted to say thank you for standing up for what you do. And I think you will make a difference in Springfield because it seems like the squeaky wheel gets the grease and you’re saying the correct things and people are supporting you…I appreciate the fact that you stand up and tell it like it is.”
This was not Burns’ first call to Romanik’s show nor the last. In total the YouTube channel “Romanik Watch” has five recordings of Burns sycophantically praising Romanik on calls.
“It’s always great to hear your voice on the air,” Burns said to Romanik at the start of one call on February 9th. He closed his call with “When you’ve got Romanik on the air you’ve got the best.”
On March 2nd Burns called Romanik to complain about a recent editorial in the St Louis Post-Dispatch that was critical of Romanik’s use of racist and homophobic hate speech. In this conversation the two men describe a collaboration to improve signage on Telegraph Road in St Louis near Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.
Burns claims that he pushed a bill through the Missouri House of Representatives to put up signs on the road to remind drivers it is illegal to break into funeral processions, especially one of a military veteran. Burns then says to Romanik, “You didn’t hesitate. You said, ‘Bob, I’m going to pay for those,’ and you wrote me a check on the spot.”
Earlier in the call Romanik stated that he paid between $4-5,000 for the signs and that the impetus to have them erected was to protect the Patriot Guards following the death of one who was hit by a car.
Burns then goes on to discuss the funeral of a military veteran the two men attended together.
So it appears that Burns is not only a regular listener to Romanik’s show, but they two men actively work together in person on projects of mutual interest.
Missouri Democrats call on Bob Burns to resign
A spokesperson for the Missouri House Democrats, Marc Powers, says party leaders learned about the recordings on Wednesday, investigated them on Thursday, and asked Burns to resign on Friday. Burns refused, and told Democratic Minority leader Gail McCann Beatty that he only called in to talk about veterans issues and non-controversial topics.
While it is true that in all five recordings Burns keeps his policy comments mostly to veterans affairs and military-related subjects, it is also obvious from the recordings that Burns is a loyal and devoted listener to Romanik’s show. And his regular praise for Romanik’s general views leave little doubt that the two men are in substantial agreement on many topics.
Today, Democratic leaders across Missouri made public calls for Burn to resign.
Minority leader Beatty said in a statement, “While we acknowledge some of the recordings have been edited, the fact that Rep. Burns repeatedly called into this show is reprehensible given the host’s well-known racist views. As a result, House Democratic leadership has asked Rep. Burns to immediately tender his resignation as state representative. We will not tolerate this conduct from any member of the Democratic Caucus.”
US Senator Claire McCaskill has also called for Burns to go, saying, “It’s come to my attention that in multiple call-in interviews with KQQZ-AM Radio, Represenative Burns expressed public support for — and agreement with — an individual who has delivered a constant toxic stream of racist, sexist attacks on his radio show. Rhetoric like this is not only offensive — it stokes fear and division, and gives license to those who would perpetuate further toxic rhetoric and behavior.”
The condemnation from Senator McCaskill is especially noteworthy. On Bob Burns’ Wikipedia page it is claimed that Burns worked on McCaskill’s staff between 2007-10 (although without any reference for verification given).
So far, despite repeated attempts by the media to get a response from Burns, he has yet to make a public statement.
If he’s looking for a platform, however, it seems likely Bob Romanik would provide him one on his Monday morning show.
And things could be worse for the Missouri Democrats. The Illinois Republican Party has an out-and-out Nazi running for Congress in November, easily putting Bob Burn’s support and fraternization with a white supremacist talk show host in the shade.