Tea Party in racism row over Obama ape 'joke'
Published 18/04/2011 | 05:00
A Tea Party activist has refused to resign after circulating an email depicting Barack Obama and his parents as chimpanzees with the statement: "Now you know why -- No birth certificate!"
Marilyn Davenport, who is also a member of the Orange County Republican Party in California, yesterday resisted calls for her resignation, claiming she was not a racist and had been joking.
The email contained a picture of the US president superimposed over a baby chimpanzee with two adults of the species, with reference to the conspiracy theory that Mr Obama is not eligible to be president because he was born outside America.
Scott Baugh, chairman of the county party, called on Mrs Davenport to resign from its central committee after receiving the email, saying that it was "dripping with racism and is in very poor taste".
Refusing to step down, Mrs Davenport said: "I'm sorry if my email offended anyone, I simply found it amusing regarding the character of Obama and all the questions surrounding his origin of birth. In no way did I even consider the fact he's half black when I sent out the email."
Tim Whitacre, an Orange County Republican committee member, defended Mrs Davenport, whom he called "a polite, gentle grandmother".
The notion that Mr Obama was not born in Hawaii is popular among Republicans and has been kept alive by Donald Trump, the property magnate considering a run for the Republican 2012 nomination. (© Daily Telegraph, London)