Updated after the jump: Davenport gives an exclusive interview to OC Weekly; plus, she reportedly receives death threats.
President Obama is coming to Southern California this week. How did some of us welcome him? By depicting him as a monkey.
Well, make that one of us. Namely Orange County Republican Party central committee member Marilyn Davenport, who sent out an email with a Photoshop'd vision of our president as a primate.
“Now you know why no birth certificate,” she wrote, referring to the right-wing “birther” campaign embraced recently by Donald Trump.
Our friends at OC Weekly broke the story wide open over the weekend, reporting that, despite Orange County Republican Party Chairman Scott Baugh's suggestion that Davenport step down, she says she's staying put.
In fact, Davenport gave OC Weekly the old, “I have friends who are black.”
“Besides,” she said, “I only sent it to a few people–mostly people I didn't think would be upset by it.”
Well, some of the most powerful folks in her party, including O.C.-based king-maker Michael J. Schroeder, former state chair of the California GOP, are upset by it.
On Saturday Davenport sent out an email apologizing for her endorsement of the image, but she also blamed the “liberal media” for trumpeting the story. She wrote:
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.
Mmkay. Well, to put this in perspective, Davenport's not exactly a Schwarzenegger Republican. But that doesn't excuse the GOP from having nuts in leadership positions, either.
It's supposed to be the party of penny pinching and gentlemanly values. Davenport seems to have the mores of a Dixie truck driver.
And, Mr. President, you lived here. Please remember that people like Davenport are more old-school Deep South than contemporary SoCal.
Update: L.A. African American leader and author Earl Ofari Hutchinson was leading the charge to force the GOP to fire Davenport from her O.C. central committee post. He scheduled a news conference today.
Before that, however, he called the Republican party's lack of formal action in the matter a “blatant endorsement of racism by a GOP top official.''
Davenport sent out a racist, inflammatory and despicable photo … Davenport's depiction and Baugh's inaction to date mock the GOP's repeated contention that the GOP vigorously condemns racism.
Los Angeles Civil Rights Association President Eddie Jones and other black community leaders planned to join Hutchinson at the news conference.
Update No. 2: The O.C. GOP central committee plans to meet at 7 p.m. tonight, but … there's little they can do to get rid of Davenport, says chairman Baugh.
He tells City News Service:
The bottom line is state law precludes the committee from terminating her membership. She's an elected member, elected by the public, and there are very narrow reasons you can remove her, and her racist e-mail is not one of them.
The most we can do is adopt a resolution condemning what she's done and encourage her to apologize and encourage her to resign.
[Side thought]: Is the Republican party doing itself no favors by attracting freaks from the edges of political civility, Trump included, as we head into presidential election season? Discuss.
(And check out this great analysis of the Republicans' so-far-dim candidate roster).
Update No. 3: Calling herself an “imperfect Christian lady,” Davenport on Monday issued this apology:
To my fellow Americans and to everyone else who has seen the email I forwarded and was offended by my action, I humbly apologize and ask for your forgiveness of my unwise behavior. I say unwise because at the time I received and forwarded the email, I didn't stop to think about the historic implications and other examples of how this could be offensive.
Update No. 4: OC Weekly's R. Scott Moxley, who broke the story of the racist email, gets an exclusive interview with Davenport in which she again apologizes but again says she's staying put.
Plus, KTLA News says she has received death threats, but gives no details or links.
First posted at 8:02 a.m. on Monday, April 18.