Politics

Florida Republican Leader Posts Support For Roseanne’s Racist ‘Ape’ Tweet

A GOP leader in Lake County, Florida says he doesn’t understand all the fuss surrounding Roseanne Barr. Ralph Smith, a committeeman serving for Lake County Republicans, posted a side-by-side image on Facebook, with a Planet of the Apes character on one side and Valerie Jarrett on the other.

When Smith isn’t organizing Republicans, he runs an auto and tire shop in Tavares.

“And the issue with Roseanne is?” Ralph Smith asked.

Further down in a thread generated by his original post, Ralph wrote to his friends on Facebook, “OK the mouths are different but otherwise a reasonable facsimile.”

On a radio talk show earlier this week, Smith continued to discuss the controversy surrounding Roseanne Barr, saying that he was still confused about why what she said was so offensive.

“I’m over this hyperpartisanship … I’m sick and tired of this either being a color-blind society or not being color-blind. Which are we?” he asked.

Insisting that he wasn’t racist, he said:

“I don’t give a rat’s you-know-what about what anybody’s color is. I care more about what they think, what they believe, about their values, about their integrity, about their honesty. I care more about whether they love God or they don’t.”

“I don’t hate anybody. I love all people,” he said.

Meanwhile, another Republican campaign operative in Georgia faced criticism for a similar tweet. Seth Weathers posted a photo of Valerie Jarrett and asked, “FYI, this is the ‘African-American’ that @therealroseanne offended. Questions?”

Prompted by news outlets about what the meant by the quotations marks in his caption, he said he doesn’t “believe in hyphenated Americans.”

“We’re all Americans,” he insisted. “Using quotation marks was a reflection of that.”

Roseanne Barr’s sitcom revival was canceled by TBS earlier this week after she a racist tweet in which she compared a former Obama official to a character from Planet of the Apes. Barr originally wrote, “Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj.”

The dustup caused by the tweet coupled with the subsequent cancellation caused Donald Trump and other conservative commentators to accuse the media of a “double-standard.”

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