(KMSP) - Social media posts from a Republican U.S. Senate candidate and a top Democratic staffer created a firestorm on Monday.
Republican Karin Housley battled back against critics who called her a racist, after the surfacing of a nine-year-old Facebook post comparing then-First Lady Michelle Obama’s posture to that of a chimpanzee. Later in the day, the DFL suspended a spokesman after he suggested Republicans should be taken “to the guillotine.”
In an April 2009 post, Housley said Obama should “at least stand up straight.” When someone asked if she missed former First Lady Nancy Reagan, Housley said she did and missed President Ronald Reagan more.
“Speaking of Bedtime for Bonzo,” Housley said, a reference to a Reagan movie, “I think even that chimp stood up straighter than Michelle. Uh-oh, someone is going to make a comment.”
Housley faces Democratic U.S. Sen. Tina Smith in the Nov. 6 election to decide who will finish former U.S. Sen. Al Franken’s term.
The Housley campaign said the controversy was the Smith campaign’s attempt to “manufacture outrage.”
“This is what the radical left does when they are losing—they attack Republicans so they don’t have to come up with solutions to the problems Minnesotans are facing,” said Jake Schneider, a Housley spokesman.
Smith has led public polling in the race.
The DFL said in a statement that the 2009 comments showed Housley lacked maturity and respect. Smith’s campaign issued a one-sentence statement about the issue.
“Minnesotans deserve a Senator who treats everyone with respect - even if you disagree,” Smith said in the statement.
Meanwhile, the DFL is apologizing for what it calls “offensive comments” made by suspended spokesman Will Davis in three tweets obtained by Fox 9 on Monday.
In the tweets from 2011, Davis uses a derogatory term for women, makes graphic references to male anatomy, and calls people “retards.”
The DFL says Davis made the comments before he was an employee of the state party and was unaware of them when he was hired.
The party had already suspended Davis without pay Monday over a comment he made on Facebook last week. Davis posted, “11/7: take them to the guillotine,” an apparent reference to Republicans after the election.
The party would not say whether it was further disciplining Davis for the tweets, only that he is “currently on an unpaid suspension.”