FULLERTON, Calif. — A Southern California GOP official who sent an email depicting President Barack Obama as a chimpanzee said Wednesday she considered the email political satire and not racist.
Speaking publicly for the first time, Marilyn Davenport reiterated that she will not resign from her elected post on the Republican Party's Orange County Central Committee.
"I feel that it was inappropriate and I offended people," she told reporters outside her home. "I think it's only racist when the intent in my heart is to make it that way, and that was not the intent in my heart."
The local GOP chairman has called for Davenport's resignation and opened an ethics inquiry.
Davenport, 74, issued a written apology Monday but refused to resign.
The email sent late last week showed Obama's face superimposed on a photo of a baby chimp with two adult chimps in a family photo pose.
Text beneath the picture read, "Now you know why no birth certificate."
"To the president I would say obviously it was inappropriate and I would not do that again," Davenport said. "It struck me as political satire."
Davenport said she found the email to be relevant because of questions surrounding Obama's birth.
So-called "birthers" claim Obama is ineligible to be president because there's no proof he was born in the United States. Hawaii officials, however, have certified Obama was born in that state.
"My position would be I am concerned, knowing what the responsibility is of a president," Davenport said. "I guess we should know his origin, shouldn't we? ... I guess I wonder why he doesn't tell us."
Davenport represents the 72nd Assembly District in Orange County on the committee, which is made up of volunteer officials elected for two-year terms. The group is tasked with fundraising, campaigning and debating policy for the Republican Party.
Davenport said constituents are asking her not to resign, and the feelings of those outside the 72nd Assembly District don't matter.
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