Davenport initially insisted that she had done nothing wrong, characterizing her action as “a harmless joke” and deriding criticisms as “much to do [sic] about nothing.” In 2009, Davenport defended Los Alamitos Mayor Dean Grose, whose doctored email of a watermelon patch on the White House lawn angered Democrats, independents and many Republicans. He later resigned.
Alice Huffman, president of the NAACP’s California State Conference, denounced Davenport in an email: “There are no ifs and buts about this cartoon; it is absolutely and positively racist in nature. There is no way that depicting the President of the United States as less than human can be considered anything but a racist act.”
For national NAACP officers who believe that much of the Tea Party’s leadership and members are racists, response to Davenport’s email has been an international confirmation. However, Micah Grant, an African-American communications strategist for the state Republican Party, said that he believes “people are sophisticated enough to know that this was an isolated incident and by no means represents the California Republican Party.”
But John Burton, chair of the California Democratic Party, told The Root that “this just reinforces what we know about a lot of Orange County Republicans: They’re a bunch of wackos.” When told that Republicans say they’re not racists but are merely misunderstood, Burton replied, “Yes, and Republicans also say the earth is flat.”
Frank Barbaro, the Democratic Party’s Orange County chair, said that he believes Davenport’s Republican colleagues on the county committee “could vote to remove her. I think Scott has to do that and the committee has to do that; they can do something.”
F. Finley McRae, a freelance journalist, is based in Los Angeles.