Beverly Whaling, the mayor of Clay town in West Virginia, has resigned after she was caught up in a controversy over racist comments about First Lady Michelle Obama.
The mayor had appeared to applaud a racist Facebook post referring to Michelle Obama as an “ape in heels”.
Beverly Whaling wrote that the post had made her day, but later said she was referring to the election outcome.
A petition calling for her resignation had gathered over 170,000 signatures.
Clay has no African American residents, according to the 2010 census. In Clay County as a whole, more than 98% of its 9,000 residents are white.
Beverly Whaling had responded to a Facebook post by Pamela Ramsey Taylor, a local resident who runs a non-profit group in Clay County, which referred to Michelle Obama as an “ape”.
Pamela Ramsey Taylor wrote on her Facebook page: “It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified first lady in the White House. I’m tired of seeing a Ape in heels.”
Mayor Beverly Whaling quickly responded with a comment: “Just made my day Pam.”
While Clay County has a small population, the furor over the Facebook post spread far and wide.
Pamela Ramsey Taylor had already been dismissed from her post.
Beverly Whaling had already issued a written apology to news media outlets saying that her comment wasn’t intended to be racist.
She said: “I was referring to my day being made for change in the White House! I am truly sorry for any hard feeling this may have caused! Those who know me know that I’m not in any way racist!”