Campaigning for his father yesterday, Jason Thompson, the son of former Gov. Tommy Thompson, who’s running for the U.S. Senate, was videotaped at a Republican event saying that voters have an opportunity to send President Barack Obama back to Kenya.
"We have the opportunity to send President Obama back to Chicago – or Kenya," Jason Thompson, told listeners during a Kenosha County Republican Party event. Listeners broke into laughter and one woman added, “We are taking donations for that Kenya trip.”
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman Brad Courtney also spoke at the event, which was videotaped by a Democratic Party operative.
The campaign of Tammy Baldwin, Thompson’s Democratic opponent who maintains a slight lead in the polls, declined to comment on the statement. Jason Thompson’s joke reflected the long-discredited conspiracy theory that Obama was born in Africa – the so-called “birther” controversy that has haunted his presidency.
Meanwhile, also on Sunday, Tommy Thompson accused Baldwin of being “anti-Jewish.” Challenged by reporters, he changed his accusation to “anti-Israel.” Baldwin’s maternal grandfather was the son of Jewish immigrants from Russia.
In 2007, Thompson displayed his own attitude toward Jews while addressing a conference of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism during his short-lived presidential run. He complimented his Jewish audience on their success at pursuing wealth, noting that earning money was “part of the Jewish tradition.”
Told that he’d just insulted his audience, the gaffe-prone Thompson tried to apologize in a way that only made the situation worse.
“What I was referring to, ladies and gentlemen, is the accomplishments of the Jewish religion,” Thompson explained. “You've been outstanding business people and I compliment you for that.”