A South Carolina Republican activist says he was just joking when he compared a gorilla to one of First Lady Michelle Obama's ancestors.
Rusty Depass is a former South Carolina Senate candidate and once served as the state's election commission chairman.
He posted the comment on Facebook in response to a gorilla escaping from a Columbia zoo.
"I'm sure it's just one of Michelle's ancestors - probably harmless," he wrote.
He later told a local TV station that he was sorry.
"I am as sorry as I can be if I offended anyone. The comment was clearly in jest," he said.
But Bishop Harry Jackson said remarks like that are harmful as Christian conservatives work to get more minority supporters.
"There is a pre-supposition that the GOP and all of us who are on the religious are somehow sexist and racist and I think it's a really big PR problem that we have," he said.
Rusty Depass did not return calls from CBN News.