Marilyn Davenport has a lot of nerve--both figuratively and literally. Not only did Davenport, an official of California’s Orange County Republican Party, resist apologizing for mass emailing a photo April 15 of President Obama as a chimp, she’s also refused to resign over the controversy, despite calls from the public and fellow GOP reps to step down. On May 4, when the executive committee of the Orange County GOP voted 12-2 to issue an ethics censure to Davenport for her conduct involving the email, Davenport still declined to resign even though O.C. GOP chairman Scott Baugh publicly reiterated his wish for her to do so. The ethics censure is the strongest measure that could be taken against Davenport because she’s an elected official and the group’s bylaws forbid such an ouster. That means the only way that Davenport will leave the group is on her own accord.
Given this, we are asking the major donors of the Orange County Republican Party not to give the group one more dime until Davenport steps down. That’s because Davenport doesn’t seem to understand the seriousness of her actions, let alone the hurt the email caused and the history of racial bigotry it recalled. Davenport initially downplayed the image of Obama’s face superimposed on a baby chimp’s body with two chimp parents as a joke. The image contained the caption: “Now you know why – No birth certificate.” Her insensitivity is one reason the OC GOP wants her to step down, but the executive committee also cited the fact that after Davenport apologized for sending the email at an April 20 press conference, she continued to deny that the image was racist and questioned whether President Obama was born in the U.S.
It’s widely known that white supremacists have long portrayed African Americans as ape-like to undermine their humanity. Davenport’s denial of this, along with her “birther” claims, signals that she lacks the sensitivity necessary to serve an increasingly diverse constituency. Force her out of the Orange County GOP by asking the party’s donors to suspend all funding until she leaves!
We write to inform you that on April 15, an elected member of the party’s governing central committee made international headlines when she mass emailed a photo of President Barack Obama and his parents as chimpanzees coupled with the caption: “Now, you know why – No Birth Certificate.”
Despite the public outcry the email generated, the elected official in question - Marilyn Davenport - resisted apologizing for sending the racist email. Instead, she called the controversy “much to do about nothing.”
Even after giving in and apologizing, Davenport continued to deny that the image of the nation’s first black president as a chimp was racist. This led the O.C. Republican Party executive committee to issue an ethics censure against her on May 4, the severest action they can take against Davenport because their bylaws forbid ousting an elected member from their ranks.
In short, the only way for Davenport to exit the Orange County Republican Party is if she leaves on her own free will.
But Davenport has refused to do this, ignoring the calls of party chairman Scott Baugh and California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro to step down, not to mention those of the public.
I write to call on you to please send Davenport a message—with your pocketbook. I ask that you publicly refuse to make further contributions to the Republican Party of Orange County until she steps down.
It’s inexcusable for those in public office to use racial bigotry as a weapon to undermine the nation’s highest elected official. Let Marilyn Davenport know that an apology for her racial callousness won’t suffice. She needs to step down at once.
I look forward to your reply at the responses email below.