Republican Arkansas State Senate candidate Charles Beckham III has found himself embroiled in scandal after it was revealed that he once wore KKK robes to school.
That was then and this is now. Now he's a good Christian man who stands for "family values."
Beckham claims that the robes were just a Halloween costume and his Christian faith proves he's not a racist.
The controversy stems from a report in Little Rock newspaper Arkansas Times that describes when Beckham wore the KKK robes in order to terrorize a Black student at his high school.
According to five classmates who corroborated the details of the incident, Beckham and two other students, also in KKK robes, stormed into a girls' dormitory at the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science and marched up and down the halls.
Arkansas Times spoke with women who lived in the dormitory at the time.
One of them, Victoria Brown, described a harrowing experience.
"I just remember being petrified to the point of tears."
All the Black students the paper spoke with confirmed Beckham and his accomplices did not behave as if they were joking or playing a prank.
They took the boys seriously.
Beckham initially denied the allegations, which he called "baseless" and "fake." But then another newspaper, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, obtained a copy of a lawsuit filed by Beckham's parents after he was expelled from the school for precisely the allegations described.
Once caught, Beckham issued an apology.
"I do sincerely apologize for any angst or grievances that I have caused anyone as a minor, as that is not the man that I am today."
Beckham also cited his faith as evidence of his character, ignoring he had lied when first asked about his past behavior.
"I am a Christian, a husband to my loving wife of 8 years as well as a father of two and am proud of the life that we have built-in McNeil, Arkansas."
And just in case there was any question, Beckham emphatically denied any involvement with the KKK
"I continue to unequivocally denounce the KKK and any like-minded hate groups and the rumors that I am or have ever been part of the KKK are absolutely ridiculous."
Of course, having legal records of having once worn KKK robes to school makes "ridiculous" a stretch.
On Twitter, people were not buying it.
@Queerty Im really sorry I got caught in my klan robes! 🙄— Veteran Against Trump (@Veteran Against Trump)1603813779.0
The great white self-own. https://t.co/V14iENLZDj— Brian (@Brian)1603513865.0
“I do sincerely apologize for any angst or grievances that I have caused anyone as a minor, as that is not the man… https://t.co/E90cZkylRc— aVetResists (@aVetResists)1603511009.0
A Republican from Arkansas .... why am I not surprised? https://t.co/RwUU6T5udY— Jessica Pina (@Jessica Pina)1603646183.0
I love the response first a denial, then, a lie: “did not,” then counter accusations “they’ll say anything to cost… https://t.co/VkjFribw7s— jhorton (@jhorton)1603416631.0
A so-called “family values” candidate from Arkansas says he’s really, really, REALLY sorry about dressing up in a K… https://t.co/I3Q1XETIkh— John Voelcker (@John Voelcker)1603828337.0
He's not sorry. one bit. After initially lying about the incident, Charles Beckham III later admitted to it when t… https://t.co/Ti96t4ZShS— Scoot 😷 (@Scoot 😷)1603834377.0
So, what is it about @GOP that draws so many liars into their circle? Charles Beckham III, Senate candidate, lies… https://t.co/4dIhvdmPKI— Roberto (@Roberto)1603471557.0
Let’s be clear: Charles Edward Beckham III also said it was a Democratic ploy to hurt his campaign. He’s a racist… https://t.co/G2B4gSZe1O— Heather Newman (@Heather Newman)1603510851.0
Beckham is currently tied with his Democratic opponent, incumbent representative Bruce Maloch.