Southern California GOP official Marilyn Davenport, who sent an outrageous email to a group of GOP committee members Friday with President Barack Obama’s face photo-shopped onto the body of a baby chimpanzee, apologized late Monday for her actions.
The 74-year-old Republican was widely criticized over the weekend for the email, which read "Now you know why no birth certificate” beneath the photo showing two chimpanzee parents and a child (Obama being the child) posing for a family portrait.
"To my fellow Americans and to everyone else who has seen this email I forwarded and was offended by my action, I humbly apologize and ask for your forgiveness of my unwise behavior,” Davenport’s apology read. “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.”
The email came out even after Obama’s Hawaiian birth certificate was made public, along with Hawaii officials repeated confirmation of Obama’s American citizenship. Even more damaging, however, were the racial implications behind the email.
"The email is without question extremely racist,” said GOP chairman Scott Baugh of the 72nd Assembly District in Orange County, the committee Davenport is a member of. “Depicting African-Americans as monkey is a longtime, well-known and particularly offensive slur because it denies them their basic humanity."
Despite the email being racist in itself, Baugh also said that Davenport’s motivation for forwarding the email was not necessarily racially motivated. “I want to accept and do accept that Marilyn is not a racist," he said.
Baugh has still called for an ethics investigation into the incident and says that Davenport should resign from her position despite the "sincere apology" she made.