November 18, 2016 – Two West Virginia government officials in Clay County are polishing up their resumes after referring to First Lady Michelle Obama in crude, racially insensitive terms on social media. Clay’s mayor, Beverly Whaling tendered her resignation and a second county official, Pamela Taylor, was placed on leave after a local news report trigger widespread backlash in the small working class town. Taylor’s Facebook post said, “It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified first lady in the White House. I’m tired of seeing a ape in heels.” Mayor Beverly Whaling replied “Just made my day Pam,” in the post’s comment section.
“I would like to apologize for any unintentional harm caused by my comment. My comment was not intended to be racist at all. I was referring to my day being made for the change in the White House! I am truly sorry for any hard feeling this may have caused! Those who know me, know that I am not in any way racist! Again, I would like to apologize for this getting out of hand!”
A spokesperson for the West Virginia chapter of the NAACP called for the removal of both women from their positions and condemned what he called the “racist undertones” of the post.
“Unfortunately, this is a reality that we are dealing with in America today. There’s no place for these types of attitudes in our state.”
The heavily Republican-leaning region went Donald Trump in last week’s presidential election remaining consistent with historical trends in the state. The incident comes on the heels of a similar racist message shared by a Republican official in Kentucky who won despite sending a series of racially offensive caricatures of the President and First Lady. In addition to such examples of racially charged “jokes” making the rounds on social media, a spike in the number of incidents of racial harassment and intimidation and even violence in some cases has also attended the election of Donald Trump to the presidency.
A member of the Clay City Council issued a statement apologizing for the incident, insisting “racial intolerance isn’t what this community is about.”