Michella Obama
US 'outgoing' First Lady Michelle ObamaReuters

The mayor of a West Virginia town resigned on Tuesday amid fallout from a racist post on Facebook about First Lady Michelle Obama, an official said.

Joe Coleman, the town recorder in Clay, WV, said that Mayor Beverly Whaling's resignation is effective immediately.

Clay County Development director Pamela Ramsey Taylor made the post following Republican Donald Trump's election as president, saying of incoming first lady Melania Trump: "It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady in the White House. I'm tired of seeing a [sic] Ape in heels."

Whaling responded: "Just made my day Pam."

Whaling later issued a written apology to news media outlets, saying her comment wasn't intended to be racist.

"I was referring to my day being made for a 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!"

In a follow-up Facebook post captured in screenshots, Taylor asked people not to share her original message and said it was in "no way" intended to be racist. She said she was "referring to my personal opinion of the attractiveness, not the colour of the skin."

She also apologised for "any hurt my post may have caused," while defending her right to express an opinion.

Clay County Sheriff Garrett Samples told WSAZ that threats had been made against Taylor and Whaling, as well as other county workers.

One council member had some inviting words for outsiders who look down on her town.

"Come see us," Joyce Gibson said. "Spend a day with us. If I knew you would come, I would bake a cake. We're very decent people."

The council meeting was brief, with councilman Jason Hubbard reading a statement condemning the "horrible and indecent" post. He apologised on behalf of the town to Michelle Obama and anyone who was offended.

"Please don't judge the entire community for one or two individual acts," Hubbard said.

The council plans to act quickly to name a replacement for the remaining three years of Whaling's term.

"She was a good mayor, I thought, and she knew how to get things done," Gibson said. "It's just a shame that this has happened. But, you know, there could be good things come out of it."

Also read