How not to apologize, 101

HOW NOT TO APOLOGIZE, 101…. Let’s call this another setback for the Republican Party’s outreach to minority communities.

A prominent South Carolina Republican killed his Facebook page Sunday after being caught likening the First Lady to an escaped gorilla.

Commenting on a report posted to Facebook about a gorilla escape at a zoo in Columbia, S.C., Friday, longtime GOP activist Rusty DePass wrote, “I’m sure it’s just one of Michelle’s ancestors — probably harmless.”

Busted by South Carolina political blogger Will Folks, DePass told WIS-TV in Columbia, “I am as sorry as I can be if I offended anyone. The comment was clearly in jest.”

Then he added, “The comment was hers, not mine,” claiming Michelle Obama made a recent remark about humans descending from apes. The Daily News could find no such comment.

Now, I’m not inclined to give DePass advice, but as a rule, defending racism with “the comment was hers,” when it wasn’t, is not the right way to express sincere remorse.

What’s more, maybe now would be a good time to remind folks that modern biology says nothing about “humans descending from apes.” The evolutionary model is based on shared ancestry, which isn’t the same thing.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.