Said joke was “not meant to offend”
Robert DeNiro ruffled some feathers on Monday night when he made an insensitive joke about America not being ready for a white First Lady at an Obama fundraiser.
In an attempt at irony, Robert DeNiro said to a crown of Obama supporters, “Callista Gingrich. Karen Santorum. Ann Romney. Now do you really think our country is ready for a white First Lady?” The audience laughed good-naturedly in response to De Niro’s question, according to the pool report, to which DeNiro retorted, “Too soon, right?”
Robert De Niro was hosting a fundraiser with Michelle Obama at his New York City restaurant, Locanda Verde.
GOP Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich was outraged by the joke. During a campaign stop in Shreveport, La., on Tuesday, he stated he felt insulted and even called for the President to apologize on his behalf.
“I think Robert De Niro is wrong,” Gingrich said in his speech. “I think the country is ready for a new First Lady, and he doesn’t have to describe it in racial terms.”
Gingrich called De Niro’s comment “beyond the pale,” adding, “I call on the President to apologize for him.”
Michelle Obama’s press secretary released a statement calling the joke “inappropriate.”
The actor released a statement apologizing for his comments, saying “My remarks, although spoken with satirical jest, were not meant to offend or embarrass anyone — especially the first lady.”