Minnesota Republican Senate nominee Karin Housley once compared Michelle Obama to a “chimp,” according to a Facebook posting, HuffPost reported Monday.
In the 2009 post, Housley opined on the then-first lady’s posture and compared her to a chimpanzee from the 1951 film, “Bedtime for Bonzo,” which starred Ronald Reagan.
“Speaking of Bedtime for Bonzo, I think even that chimp stood up straighter than Michelle. Uh-oh, someone is going to make a comment,” Housley wrote, according to a screenshot of the post reported by HuffPost.
Racist attacks comparing black people to apes and monkeys have a long history in the United States. After Florida gubernatorial nominee Rep. Ron DeSantis (R) warned voters in August not to “monkey this up” by electing his Democratic opponent, Andrew Gillum, the NAACP Florida State Conference decried such comparisons as “by far the best-known racist references to African Americans in our national folklore.”
Housley is running against Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) for the seat that was previously held by Al Franken (D), who resigned in January amid allegations of sexual misconduct.
Housley appeared onstage with President Trump at a “Make America Great Again” event in Rochester, Minn., earlier this month. A recent NBC News/Marist poll shows Smith leading Housley by double digits in the race.
In a statement, Housley campaign spokesman Jake Schneider did not dispute that Housley wrote the comment and blamed Smith’s campaign for “using an out-of-context Facebook post from ten years ago 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,” Schneider said.
Smith said in a statement that “Minnesotans deserve a Senator who treats everyone with respect — even if you disagree.”