Tommy Thompson’s son calls for sending Obama back ‘to Kenya’
Daniel Bice Oct. 14, 2012 Milwaukee JS
Jason Thompson, the son of former Gov. Tommy Thompson, was caught on video Sunday suggesting at a Republican event that voters this fall could send President Barack Obama back “to Kenya.”
“We have the opportunity to send President Obama back to Chicago – or Kenya,” Jason Thompson, an attorney at Michael Best and Friedrich, said during a fall brunch hosted by the Kenosha County Republican Party.
Jason Thompson’s comment about Obama prompted laughs from the crowd, with one woman jokingly adding, “We are taking donations for that Kenya trip.”
For years, a fringe group of Obama critics has promoted the discredited “birther” argument that the first-term Democratic president was not born in the U.S. Though Obama’s father was Kenyan, the White House released Obama’s birth certificate last year showing he was born in a Hawaii hospital on Aug. 4, 1961.
Also speaking at the Kenosha event were Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman Brad Courtney. The video was taken by a Democratic Party operative and posted at BuzzFeed Politics early Sunday evening.
Jason Thompson, 38, has been actively involved in his father’s bid for an open U.S. Senate seat, representing the campaign at some events. Running against Thompson is Democratic Rep. Tammy Baldwin of Madison.
A Baldwin spokesman declined to comment on the video.
At an evening news conference in Wauwatosa, the former four-term governor – known for committing his share of verbal gaffes over the years – initially deflected a question about the video.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Thompson said.
About an hour later, however, Thompson’s staff sent an email addressing the controversy.
“The Governor has addressed this with his son, just like any father would do,” said the campaign statement. “Jason Thompson said something he should not have, and he apologizes.”
Priebus and Courtney did not return calls.
During the same Sunday news conference, Thompson had his own slip of the tongue when talking about Baldwin.
A reporter asked Thompson about Baldwin’s statements Sunday at the Jewish Community Center in Milwaukee, responding to allegations that she has flip-flopped on sanctioning Iran.
Thompson called Baldwin’s explanation “the lamest excuse I’ve ever heard.” He then went on to call her “anti-Jewish.”
Only later did he backtrack when the same reporter asked him if he meant what he said.
“She’s anti-Israel,” he clarified.
Back in 2007, Thompson had to apologize for telling a Jewish group that earning money was “part of the Jewish tradition.” He made the remark to the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism while running for president.