The Speaker of the Kansas House of Representatives has found himself soundly criticized once again for sending demeaning emails aimed at President Obama. The legislator has apologized but insists that he will not resign.
Just last month, Mike O’Neal was the subject of intense controversy for forwarding emails critical of the Obama and first lady Michelle Obama. The most recent email quotes a Bible verse that states: “May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership.”
O’Neal, a Republican, said that the bible verse was merely intended to reflect a desire for the president for be defeated in this year’s election. However, the speaker’s critics have cited the next verse in Psalm 109. “May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow.”
The previous email showcased a photo of Michelle Obama alongside with an image of the cartoon character “The Grinch.” The subject line read: “Twins separated at birth?” The email contained the message: “I’m sure you’ll join me in wishing Mrs. YoMama a wonderful, long Hawaii Christmas vacation — at our expense, of course.”
O’Neal forwarded the email to several of his Republican colleagues in the Kansas House, adding his own words, “Sorry, just had to forward the latest holiday message! I’ve had worse hair days but this is pretty funny.”
The emails sparked a firestorm of controversy, with legislators, politicians and political commentators denoucing the emails, speficially condemning the demeaning of the first lady.
Faithful America, a nondenominational online forum based in Washington, D.C., had collected nearly 25,000 signatures by Tuesday for online petitions seeking O'Neal's resignation.
“I understand the debate over the verse interpretation, about which I have explained and for which I have repeatedly apologized to the extent anyone misconstrued my intent or was otherwise offended,” O'Neal said in an email statement. “I respect both the president and the office.”
Melody McCray-Miller, a member of the Kansas House and a member of the legislature’s African-American caucus, said she will call for the House to take collective action against O'Neal for the two emails. However, McCray-Miller, a Democrat, did not offer details on the precise nature of the sanctions the caucus would be seeking.
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(Photo: State of Kansas)