Mayor of small Pennsylvania town censured for comparing Obama and family to apes

The mayor of a small town in Pennsylvania has been censured by the local council and is facing calls to resign after he posted an image on his Facebook page comparing President Barack Obama and his family to apes.

Mayor Charles Wasko has so far declined to step down from his post in West York, about 100 miles (160 km) west of Philadelphia, despite being accused of racism for the image and others on his page.

At a meeting on Monday night, the West York Borough Council voted 7-0 to censure Wasko, a clerk said.

Wasko, whose Facebook page is filled with political commentary, posted an image in June of five orangutans in a wheelbarrow with the caption, “Aww… moving day at the Whitehouse has finally arrived.”

The image began receiving media attention last week, leading to the censure vote.

“We do not condone this activity. It doesn’t speak for us. It doesn’t speak for you,” Borough Council President Shawn Mauck said at the meeting, according to video posted on Twitter.

Wasko could not immediately be reached for comment on Tuesday.

On Friday, he told a local ABC affiliate that he did not regret his posts and that the council was targeting him for unspecified, unrelated disagreements.

“The racist stuff? I admit, yeah, I did that, and I don’t care what people label me as,” Wasko told the TV station.

There have been instances across the country of local government officials spreading racist images and jokes since Obama took office in 2009 as the first black U.S. president. He ends his second term in January 2017.

In 2013, a federal judge in Montana retired after acknowledging that he had used official court email to circulate a racist joke about Obama.

(Reporting by David Ingram in New York; Editing by Scott Malone and Frances Kerry)

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