GOP activist DePass apologizes after joking on Facebook that gorilla is related to Michelle Obama
A prominent South Carolina Republican killed his Facebook page Sunday after being caught likening the First Lady to an escaped gorilla.
Commenting on a report posted to Facebook about a gorilla escape at a zoo in Columbia, S.C., Friday, longtime GOP activist Rusty DePass wrote, "I'm sure it's just one of Michelle's ancestors - probably harmless."
Busted by South Carolina political blogger Will Folks on his FITNEWS blog, DePass told WIS-TV in Columbia, "I am as sorry as I can be if I offended anyone. The comment was clearly in jest."
Then he added, "The comment was hers, not mine," claiming Michelle Obama made a recent remark about humans descending from apes. The Daily News could find no such comment.
"'Humor' like this is nothing new for South Carolina Republicans - even as the party claims to be focusing on 'outreach' efforts to minorities," said Folks, a former gubernatorial spokesman and widely read blogger. "The fact that Palmetto [State] Republicans don't get that this is a serious problem for them baffles us."
Columbia's mayor called on DePass to apologize properly. "The comment is reprehensible. There's nothing funny about it," said Democratic Mayor Bob Coble. "What he needs to do is simply apologize in a straightforward manner."
DePass, former chairman of the Richland County GOP, was an early backer of George W. Bush and co-chairman of Rudy Giuliani's 2008 campaign in Richland County, the state's largest.
"Most of us, of course, particularly in South Carolina, never gave a damn about New Yorkers, but somehow the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, made those people Americans again," he wrote in a 2007 Op-Ed endorsing Giuliani.
Eric Davis, the current chairman of the Richland County Republicans, said his predecessor should get a pass. "Everyone says stupid things they regret later. I think the world should move on," he said.