Jim Coughlan (pictured), the controller of Dutchess County, N.Y., who is running for a state Senate seat, fired off a bigoted tweet aimed at MSNBC political commentator Melissa Harris-Perry (pictured). “Keep your dirty stinking paws off my kid you damned dirty ape,” he tweeted. Coughlan is insisting that he did not know his target was an African-American, according to the New York Daily News.
Coughlin claims his fiery remark was in response to Harris-Perry’s comments about child-rearing. Harris-Perry, who has been in the center of the right-wing noise machine, has promoted the idea of how society needs to think in a collective manner about its children. She has expressed in the past how children are not private property and not just extensions of ourselves but how they belong to their communities. Harris-Perry’s parenting comments have ignited a firestorm of anger, with some opponents believing thinks children belong to the government rather than to their own flesh and blood.
Even though Coughlin is adamant that he had never seen Harris-Perry and was unfamiliar with her body of work, he insists that his comment was not racist at all, stating he was just repeating a well-known quote from the film, “Planet of the Apes.”
And “Denial” is just a river in Egypt.
Coughlin’s offensive comments did not sit well with Democrats or even some Republicans; some have already distanced themselves from him.
Democratic Dutchess County legislator Gwen Johnson told the Daily News, “As an African-American woman, I find this very insulting and appalling.” The politician went on to say that even if Coughlin did not know Harris-Perry was Black, “You should know what you’re tweeting about and who you’re tweeting about.”
One Republican politician spoke about Coughlin’s track record and how many in his camp feel he could keep them from regaining a Senate seat they long-held up until two years ago. “Jim Coughlin is toxic,” said the unidentified Republican. “The Democrats are dying to run against him in November because they know he’s the best chance they have of keeping this seat in Democratic hands.”
Meantime, Coughlin has suspended his Twitter account after folks lashed out about his controversial tweets. The very conservative Coughlin balked at the criticisms, calling them, “A new low by the Albany insiders who are scared of my candidacy because they know I’m not going to be a patsy in the Senate. It’s despicable! They’re trying to get me to drop out.”