Mayor quits after making racist social media posts about President Obama

A small town mayor has stood down after sparking widespread condemnation when he posted photos on social media, likening President Barack Obama and his family to apes.

Mayor Charles Wasko, who was the figurehead of the borough of West York in Pennsylvania offered his resignation amid the furore caused by his Facebook posts.

The council of the borough of West York voted unanimously in favour of him standing down.

His resignation becomes effective within days with the council President Shawn Mauck agreeing to take up the reins until the mayor’s term finishes at the end of 2017.

The move comes after Mr Wasko earlier refused demands for him to resign after he was accused of racism. He posted an image on his social networks back in June of five orangutans in a wheelbarrow, which he captioned: “Aww.. moving day at the Whitehouse has finally arrived.”

Another post used an image of actor Clint Eastwood holding up a noose in a scene from one of his Western movies. In this case, Mr Wasko wrote the caption: “Barry, this rope is for you. You wanna bring that empty chair over here!” Outgoing president Mr Obama is known to have had the nickname Barry when he was younger and nooses have historically been used in the lynchings of black people by white supremacists in the South.

Mr Mauck said the area now wants to put this episode behind it and move forward without further damage to the town’s economy or reputation.

It is not the first time public officials have been forced to step down for racist remarks made about America’s first black president. A federal judge in Montana stepped down in 2013 after admitting using a court email to circulate a racist email about Mr Obama.

Following criticism, Mr Wasko used Facebook again to refuse to bow down to demands to apologise.

He said he would not be politically correct, adding: “I will say what is on my mind and what I believe in,” before telling a local news station that he would not be making an apology and that he had no regrets.

Mr Mauck said Mr Wasko had missed what he described as a “golden opportunity” to take his position seriously, to say sorry, and to move forward.