A Southern California GOP member sent out an email to fellow party members last Friday, depicting President Obama as the child of apes. It’s just the latest in a series of highly racialized attempts to discredit the president’s legitimacy to hold office.
“Now you know why — No birth certificate!” Marilyn Davenport, tea party activist and member of the central committee of the Orange County Republican Party, wrote under the image sent out last Friday.
Local Republican leaders are now calling for her resignation. While the group’s laws prevent a vote to remove Davenport, Orange County Republican Party Chairman Scott Baugh told the Associated Press that he wants to launch an ethics investigation about the incident and thinks Davenport should step down from the committee. Former Chairman of the California Republican Party Michael Schroder has also demanded her resignation in a CBS interview.
Davenport, however, refuses to resign and instead blasted “the liberal left” for picking up the story and called on “the coward” who leaked the message to come forward, in a second email sent out after news broke.
“I’m sorry if my email offended anyone,” Davenport wrote. “In no way did I even consider the fact that he’s half black when I sent out the email … We all know a double standard applies regarding this president.” She also told the OC Weekly, “Oh, come on! Everybody who knows me knows that I am not a racist. It was a joke. I have friends who are black. Besides, I only sent it to a few people—mostly people I didn’t think would be upset by it.”
Schroder said that Davenport had previously defended the racist rhetoric of other Orange County republicans. During Obama’s inauguration, Los Alamitos Mayor Dean Grose sent out an email showing a watermelon patch in front of the White House. She also defended Newport Councilman Richard Nichols, amid controversy regarding his racist comments against Mexicans.
Orange County tea party members were also accused of slinging racist taunts and threats at a Muslim fundraising event last month. And as if anyone still needed proof, late last year the Institute for Research & Education and Human Rights released an official report documenting the tea party’s racism.