W.Va. mayor resigns after racist Obama post
A West Virginia mayor resigned Tuesday after a backlash after she posted a response to a racist comment about first lady Michelle Obama on Facebook.
The Clay Town Council accepted Mayor Beverly Whaling’s resignation in a meeting late Tuesday afternoon and said it would act quickly to name a replacement for the remaining three years of her term.
The resignation came after another woman whose racist post Whaling responded to was placed on leave as director of the Clay County Development Corp.
Council member Jason Hubbard issued a brief statement condemning the “horrible and indecent” post and said racism and intolerance “isn’t what this community is about.” He apologized on behalf of the town to Michelle Obama and anyone who was offended.
“This community is a helpful, hopeful, empathetic and God-loving community,” Hubbard said. “Please don’t judge the entire community for one or two individual acts.”
Clay County Development director Pamela Ramsey Taylor made the post after Republican Donald Trump’s election as president, saying: “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.”
Town council member Joyce Gibson said that after news of the post circled the globe, the small office’s voicemail system quickly filled to capacity with irate callers.
An online campaign calling for Taylor and Whaling to resign drew tens of thousands responses.
The nonpartisan town council has five members, plus the town recorder and mayor. Whaling’s seat was empty during the meeting in a small office attended by a few local residents along with several journalists and some people from outside the area who wanted to see justice served.