by Romel Brown
A recent insensitive, offensive attack against President Obama by a key Tommy Thompson campaign staffer is drawing heavy criticism from multiple sources.
Jason Thompson – son of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Thompson and a top member of the Thompson campaign team – was caught on video at a closed door fundraiser this week saying President Obama could be sent ‘back to Kenya’ in this election.
“We have the opportunity to send President Obama back to Chicago – or Kenya,” Thompson says at a Sunday brunch sponsored by the Kenosha County Republican Party.
The comments were captured on video and circulated widely on the Internet and covered in multiple media reports. Off-screen in the video, a Republican donor can be heard saying “We are taking donations for that Kenya trip!”
The comments immediately drew heavy criticism.
“In Wisconsin yesterday, the son of Republican candidate Tommy Thompson made this not so funny joke about the President,” Rev. Al Sharpton said on his national TV cable talk show, playing the clip for his audience. “Send him back to Kenya!? Folks, politics can be an ugly affair, but this kind of stuff has to stop.”
Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart, a prominent national African-American commentator, specifically took the national Republican establishment to task for pushing the toxic ‘racist birther lie’ for so long.
“The birther conspiracy served the GOP well politically in far too many corners of our country,” Capehart wrote this week. “But it was a corrosive lie that sought to undermine the legitimacy of the president of the United States. And because no elder statesmen of the GOP had the courage or the guts to consistently call out the bigots in their party, joking about birth certificates or Kenya remains a guaranteed applause line.”
Tommy Thompson himself is also drawing heavy fire for not more forcefully denouncing the insensitive attacks against President Obama. Jason Thompson, after all, is not just Tommy’s son – he is also a top campaign advisor.
“First Tommy said he hadn’t seen the video, then he meekly hide behind a toothless statement from his campaign,” said Democratic African-American Caucus Chairwoman Stephanie Findley. “It’s ridiculous that Tommy Thompson is taking the low-road by not coming out and apologizing himself for this outrageously disrespectful attack against President Obama.”
Tammy Baldwin’s campaign – Tommy Thompson’s opponent – quickly condemned the offensive and irresponsible comments made by the top Thompson campaign official.
“Tommy Thompson and his campaign have grown increasing desperate and dishonest. These divisive political tactics have no place in Wisconsin. It’s disappointing and unacceptable that Thompson’s campaign has crossed this line and Tommy Thompson hasn’t said one word about it publicly – he has remained silent. He has not apologized for these comments, nor has he disavowed them. Thompson needs to start taking responsibility for what his campaign says and does.”