A Wisconsin mayor is being called to retract his controversial comments towards President Barack Obama and the first lady.
Mayor Bruce Hagen of Superior, Wisconsin, published a post on Facebook of a photo of Michelle Obama with a caption that read, "Unbelievable! She and her Muslim partner have destroyed the fabric of democracy that was so very hard fought for!"
Hagen is currently serving his fifth term as mayor of Superior. He was initially elected to serve as mayor from 1975 to 1987 before working for Wisconsin's Republican former Gov. Tommy Thompson. In 2011, he was elected once again to the position of mayor.
According to WDIO, Hagen said his post was in response to a comment made by a friend by a former classmate, but he declined to elaborate. Hagen said many people believe the president is not a Christian, and that the nation was founded on Christian values, reports KDLH. Hagen stands by his statement and calls it an expression of free speech.
"Quite simply, these are really inappropriate comments," Councilor Graham Garfield told WDIO News. "How can we have a nonpartisan elected mayor who has to work with elected officials, including the president's office, making these comments?"
Garfield said that he and fellow Councilors Warren Bender, Esther Dalbec, Denise McDonald and Dan Olson want him to apologize and retract his comments, and Garfield said he would personally urge Hagen to resign if he refuses to withdraw the statements
"I'm absolutely shocked and dumbfounded that the mayor would say something so callous and untrue about the first lady," Democratic State Rep. Nick Milroy said. "This is not what Superior is about. We've always been a community that's welcoming to all people."
Although City Council President Tom Fennessey said Hagen’s comment is personal, and therefore, unrelated to city council or city business, councilors believe that his comments will jeopardize the city’s relationships.
“People will lose faith in the leadership of the city of Superior, they’ll lose faith in the city government if comments like this are allowed to go on without consequences,” stated Garfield.