The national coordinator of the American Tea Party movement is standing behind David McKalip and has pledged her help as he struggles with the fallout over the racist email he sent showing President Obama dressed as a witch doctor.
In an email exchange on the Tea Party listserv, obtained by TPMmuckraker, Amy Kremer wrote:
Robin, I couldn’t have said it better myself.
David, we all support you fully and are here for you. I can assure you of one thing and that is we will protect our own. We all have your back my friend!
Let me know what I can do to help. I am here for you if you need me David.
Kramer was referring to Robin Stublen, another Tea Partier, who in response to McKalip’s apology had written that what McKalip had done in sending the email was “no different than what liberals did for eight years with Bush cartoons” and “no different than the passing of Jib Jab videos that we all have shared.” Stublen also charged that “radical members of the left” had tried to “silence” him, and called McKalip a “victim,” and a “great man fighting for a great cause.”
Kremer is the American Tea Party movement’s official National Coordinator, and also serves as a prominent public face for the movement, on whose behalf she has made numerous media appearances in recent months. According to its site, her group recently helped put together an anti-reform event featuring Sen. Jim DeMint, Rep. Tom Price, Grover Norquist, Doug Holtz-Eakin, and other right-wing luminaries.
In an interview with TPMmuckraker, Kremer said that despite her pledge of support for McKalip on the listserv, she had been traveling and had not seen the original email McKalip sent.
She said she stood by him regardless, and seemed to minimize the flap over the email. “David McKalip is fighting for something he believes in,” she said. “Attacking him for that email is a distraction from the issue.”
Asked to imagine an email in which the African-American President of the United States is pictured as a witch doctor, Kremer said: “I don’t know if it would be a problem or not.”
The broader response to the email has been less forgiving. After the Florida press jumped on the story, McKalip, a prominent St. Petersburg neurosurgeon, was rebuked by the Florida Medical Association, before announcing earlier today that he’ll step down as president of his local medical association, and stop making public appearances in opposition to health-care reform.