Chad Hartman on Karin Housley comparing Michelle Obama to a chimp: 'There is racism all over that statement'

"When you're playing off long-held stereotypes of racists... don't be surprised when it gets a reaction."

Chad Hartman
October 15, 2018 - 3:55 pm

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Chad Hartman criticized to Karin Housley today for comparing Michelle Obama to a chimp in a 2009 Facebook post.

The Huffington Post found posts Housley wrote in 2009 that compared then-First Lady Michelle Obama to a chimp, and call then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton a "porker in a royal blue pantsuit."

As the Huff Post article notes, the chimp comparison came in a comment on a post she made criticizing the then-first lady's posture in a meeting with Queen Elizabeth II. She said "I do miss Nancy Reagan. Ronald even more. Speaking of Bedtime for Bonzo. I think even that chimp stood stranger than Michelle."

Housley ended her post with "Oh, someone is going to make a comment."

"Yeah, I'm going to make it right now," Hartman said in response during his show on Monday. "You are completely allowed to criticize political figures, whether you're somebody listened to the show right now, whether you're a Senator or Governor, silly radio talk show host, but I'm sorry...  When you're comparing an African-American, to a chimp who happens to be the First Lady of this country, there is racism all over that statement."

Hartman went on to note that he doesn't know enough about Housley to say if she has a pattern of racism, but that at the time she made the comment — in 2009, before she had run for office — there was already an established context of comments comparing the Obama to chimps

"You know how many comments were out there publicly about the Obamas and apes or chimpanzees which were just flat out racist and deplorable and disgusting and filth?" Hartman asked rhetorically.

Housley's campaign manager, Jake Schneider, released the following statement: "It’s not surprising Tina Smith’s campaign is 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. Imagine if the media spent the same amount of energy investigating Keith Ellison as they do digging into candidates’ old Facebook posts and satirical columns from a decade ago.”  

To this, Hartman said: "I'm sorry. When you are a public figure running for Senate, you're now allowed to have part of your past looked at and have part of your past is comparing the First Lady and African-American to a chimpanzee. How many times a flat out racist use that sort of comparison? So when someone who may not be a racist at all, and Karin Housley uses that, and people are surprised that people are upset about it?”

He added that the thought Housley should have responded differently.

"The comment is worth in my view a conversation and as opposed to owning up to it and saying 'It's something that I never should have done,'... to just be blaming others, I'm not surprised."

In Hartman's views, Housley should have expected the reaction that the comments have received.

"You can criticize people when they're white and criticize people when they're Catholic and criticize when they're Muslim. You can criticize when they're African-American, Jewish, you name it, but when you're playing off long-held stereotypes of racists, and you may not be one yourself - don't be surprised when it gets a reaction."

Listen to the full segment here: