A long-shot Republican candidate for Colorado state house refuses to apologize for referring to two Black opponents as "chimps."
After the American Federation of Teachers endorsed her and two other statehouse candidates, Democratic state Rep. Meg Froelich thanked the organization on Twitter and highlighted her fellow endorsees, state Sen. Julie Gonzales, House District 6 candidate Elisabeth Epps and state Rep. Jennifer Bacon, reported KDVR-TV.
“Wow! I get to be with these champs? Made my day!" Froelich tweeted. "Thanks @coloradoaft.”
But her opponent, Republican candidate Marla Fernandez, responded with a racist remark.
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“Did you say chimps?” Fernandez tweeted, accompanied by a smiley-face emoji. “Sorry must be my dyslexia.”
\u201c@RepMegFroe @ColoradoAFT Did you say chimps? \u263a\ufe0fSorry must be my dyslexia. But again AFT is an arm of the NEA. They are the deep state. Meg likes power and money and doesn't support the people\u201d— Rep Meg Froelich (@Rep Meg Froelich) 1661459699
Epps and Bacon are each Black women, and Fernandez insisted she had meant something else but boasted about the attention.
“I was trying to get Meg and the NEA and I meant to put chump," Fernandez said, incorrectly identifying the National Education Association as the endorsing organization.
"But I said, you know what, let’s go with this and see what happens since I’m Hispanic,” Fernandez added, laughing. “So, I got the media coverage.”
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Colorado's Republican Party chair Kristi Burton Brown called the tweet "uncalled for and highly inappropriate," and urged her to apologize immediately, but Fernandez said she won't.
“I didn’t do anything wrong," she said. "It was meant for Meg, and I didn’t even care about the people that were on there. I mean, I was just trying to address the fact that she got sponsored by the NEA, who is No. 1 next to nobody and funds the Democrats. I’m not going to apologize because I didn’t do anything wrong, and I’m not racist. It’s not true.”
A reporter asked Fernandez about the historical context of comparing Black people to apes or monkeys, but she rejected that notion and insisted she had only wanted her opponent to debate her online.
“I’m fricking Hispanic,” Fernandez said. “There is no historical with it. We are using different words nowadays and people are twisting things.”