W.Va. mayor resigns for response to racist Obama post

Associated Press

Charleston, W.Va. — The town recorder in Clay, West Virginia, says the mayor has resigned following her response to a racist post on Facebook about first lady Michelle Obama.

Joe Coleman said Tuesday that Mayor Beverly Whaling’s resignation is effective immediately.

Whaling earlier apologized for her response to a post made by Clay County Development Corp. director Pamela Ramsey Taylor after Republican Donald Trump’s election as president. Taylor’s 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.”

Whaling responded: “Just made my day Pam.”

Whaling said earlier she isn’t racist. Taylor hasn’t returned a call seeking comment.

Taylor told WCHS-TV on Monday night that she was put on leave.

Meanwhile, Whaling issued a written apology to news media outlets saying that her comment wasn’t intended to be racist.

“I was referring to my day being made for change in the White House! I am truly sorry for any hard feeling this may have caused! Those who know me know that I’m not in any way racist!”

Taylor did not return a call seeking comment.

Clay’s town council planned to discuss the issue at a previously scheduled meeting Tuesday evening.

The post was shared hundreds of times on social media before it was deleted. The Facebook pages of Taylor and Whaling couldn’t be found Monday.

The nonprofit Clay County Development Corp. provides services to elderly and low-income residents in Clay County. It is funded through state and federal grants and local fees. It is not affiliated with the town of Clay, which is about 50 miles east of Charleston.

African-Americans make up about 4 percent of West Virginia’s 1.8 million residents, according to the U.S. census.

About 77 percent of Clay County residents supported Trump in the Nov. 8 election. In 2012, President Barack Obama received 31 percent of the county vote when Republican Mitt Romney easily carried the state.

Last week in Kentucky, Republican Dan Johnson defeated incumbent Democrat Linda Belcher in Bullitt County in a race for the state House of Representatives, despite a series of posts he put on Facebook depicting President Barack Obama and his wife as monkeys.

Republican officials, including likely new House Speaker Jeff Hoover, had called on Johnson to drop out of the race. But Hoover declared last week that Johnson would be “welcome in our caucus.”