|(c) Photo by R. Scott Moxley|
|CA Republican Party is not happy with Davenport|
UPDATE, APRIL 20, 10:18 P.M.: During the KTLA interview, a "timid, confused" Marilyn Davenport, a retired Christian book publisher, said she is "really sorry" for sending the racist email. In her view--expressed throughout the day with the media, President Barack Obama's birthplace--Africa?--is a dark mystery. But she also wanted to refocus attention on the real bad guy in her mind: Scott Baugh, OC GOP boss, who first denounced her actions in the original Weekly story. In Davenport's view, the actual scandal centers on why Baugh didn't keep her email a secret from the public. After all, depicting Obama as a chimp was, in her view, hilarious only because of his policies and not because of the color of his skin.
UPDATE, APRIL 20, 8:45 P.M.: KTLA-Los Angeles Channel 5 reporter David Begnaud airs his one-on-one interview with Marilyn Davenport tonight at about 10:13 p.m. Begnaud--a veteran, accomplished reporter--tells me that his piece "is quite revealing" and adds, "There are moments when she sees herself as the victim, moments when she is confused and times when she is contrite."
UPDATE, APRIL 20, 5:28 P.M.: OC GOP chairman Scott Baugh told me that he "was disturbed" to hear that Marilyn Davenport told some reporters this afternoon that her email wasn't racist. He defended his actions, including calling for her resignation from the Republican Central Committee.
"When you first called me," Baugh said, referring to our conversation on April 15, the day I broke the story, "what was I supposed to do? Cover it up? Lie to you? Tell you it wasn't racist? No! I took the only appropriate, credible action I could have. I immediately denounced it to you as dripping with racism and I am still confident that I did the right thing."
Baugh insisted to me that he did not share Davenport's email with Mike Schroeder,
who has taken responsibility for leaking the image to the press. He
also said he expects the party's ethics committee to meet this weekend
to discuss Davenport. The worst they can do? Censure her.
UPDATE, APRIL 20, 3:30 P.M.: Marilyn Davenport tells John and Ken on KFI in a live interview that she sent the racist email against President Obama
"strictly as a joke type thing." She said she "does not think in racist
terms." According to Davenport, she "doesn't look at Obama as a black
person," she only looks at his policies. She went on to say that she
doesn't think her own race is superior to any other race and that she
has never discriminated against people of another race. With the aid of
fellow conservative OC activist Tim Whitacre, she did say that she feels "betrayed" by OC GOP boss Scott Baugh and Mike Schroeder,
both of whom have expressed a zero-tolerance stance against Davenport's
actions. Whitacre said Baugh and Schroeder had "repulsed and disgusted"
him. John and Ken say they will go into hostile overdrive if Reverend Al Sharpton, whom they loathe, follows up on an alleged threat to protest Davenport in Fullerton in coming days.
UPDATE, APRIL 20, 10:45 A.M.: California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro today called Marilyn Davenport's Obama-ape email "completely unacceptable," said he fully supports OC GOP boss Scott Baugh's call for Davenport's resignation and declared that the party does "not condone intolerance in any way."
UPDATE, APRIL 20, 7:30 A.M.:
UPDATE, APRIL 18, 5:58 P.M.: Marilyn Davenport speaks! We have the exclusive interview here
KFI-AM 640's John and Ken
host Marilyn Davenport
for a live interview this afternoon. Go HERE
UPDATE, APRIL 17, 3:40 P.M.:
Orange County Republican Party Chairman Scott Baugh
determined today that his group's bylaws prevent a vote to remove Marilyn Davenport
as an elected member even though she emailed a racist image of President Barack Obama
to fellow Tea Baggers and Republicans.
most drastic action the party can take is a censure, he said.
Meanwhile, Davenport refuses to resign and Baugh continues to seek an
apology and her voluntary resignation from the central committee.
UPDATE, APRIL 16, 5:55 P.M.:
This afternoon, Marilyn Davenport sent an email to fellow Orange County Republican elected officials, apologizing if anyone was offended by her depicting President Barack Obama as an ape--while also blasting the "liberal media" for reporting the story.
"I simply found it amusing regarding the character of Obama and all the questions surrounding his origin of birth," Davenport wrote. "In no way did I even consider the fact he's half black when I sent out the email. In fact, the thought never entered my mind until one or two other people [Scott Baugh, Orange County GOP boss, and this writer] tried to make this about race. . . . I received plenty of emails about George Bush
that I didn't particularly like yet there was no 'cry' in the media about them."
Davenport continued: "That being said, I will NOT resign my central committee position over this matter that the average person knows and agrees is much to do about nothing."
(Davenport's entire statement is at the end of this article.)Tim Whitacre
, a longtime conservative Orange County Republican activist in Santa Ana, defended Davenport: "Marilyn
Davenport is a staunch, ethical Republican lady. There is nothing unethical about this from a party standpoint because it wasn't sent out to the party at large with any racist statements and it wasn't signed as a central committee member. As a private individual, she is just real big on Birther
stuff. One of her passions that drives her is the president's lack of
forthrightness about where he was born. Marilyn believes that nobody knows where he
was born and so this picture says a thousand words."
Whitacre continued: "She is not a
perfect lady, but she is no racist. She is a gentle person who would
feed you, help you, be there for you if you were in trouble. She is known as a pleasant, loving person, and it kills me that she is being
attacked by this non-story knowing her mindset."ORIGINAL POST, APRIL 15, 5 P.M.:
County might be a beautiful oceanfront locale, but it's also home to
Holocaust deniers, vicious anti-gay bigots and freakish big-haired
Here, one of our Republican
politicians welcomed the inauguration of the first African American U.S.
president in early 2009 by sending out an email that depicted a
watermelon field in front of the White House.
incident drew embarrassing international attention, but now another
Orange County Republican has apparently topped the watermelon imagery
with another racist attack on President Barack Obama.
has obtained a copy of an email sent to fellow conservatives this week by Marilyn Davenport, a Southern California Tea Party
activist and member of the central committee of the Orange County Republican Party
Under the words, "Now you know why no birth certificate," there's an Obama family portrait showing them as apes.
(Donald Trump must be elated to finally have an explanation about Obama's true birth circumstances.)
Here's the image attached to the email:
|The image attached to an email distributed among Orange County Republicans and Tea Baggers.|
Reached by telephone and asked if she thought the email was appropriate, Davenport said, "Oh, come on! Everybody who knows me knows that I am not a racist. It was a joke. I have friends who are black. Besides, I only sent it to a few people--mostly people I didn't think would be upset by it."
The image did upset several local Republicans.
"It's unbelievable," one high-ranking OC GOP official told me. "It's much more racist than the watermelon email. I can't believe it was sent out. I'm not an Obama fan but how stupid do you have to be to do this?"
Another GOP official, who also asked not to be identified, said that Davenport is "a really, really sweet old lady so I am surprised to hear about this."
Scott Baugh, chairman of the OC Republican Party, told Davenport that the email was tasteless, Davenport--a Fullerton-based political activist--admitted to me during the telephone interview.
"You're not going to make a big deal about this are you?" she asked me. "It's just an Internet joke."
But Baugh believes the email is a big deal.
"When I saw that email today I thought it was despicable," Baugh said. "It is dripping with racism and it does not promote the type of message Orange County Republicans want to deliver to the public. I think she should consider stepping down as an elected official."