Pressure has been building on Tennessee State Sen. Diane Black (R) to fire her aide, Sherri Goforth, who sent an e-mail with a racist image of President Obama. Today on CNN, for example, former Cheney aide Ron Christie said that “I think the appropriate course of action would be for this staffer to be dismissed.”
However, Black has dug in her heels. Yesterday, she told CNN that that although the e-mail “does not represent the beliefs or opinions of my office,” she decided to keep Goforth on:
When I did find out about the communication that was sent out, I immediately called the H.R. department and through their advice did what they told me needed to be done when there was a violation of an e-mail policy by the state. And so, therefore, as you have already stated, Miss Goforth did get a verbal reprimand as well as a very strongly worded reprimand written and it was put in her file that if this should ever occur again, that she should be immediately terminated.
As the Knoxville News Sentinel reports, the Tennessee Democratic Party has obtained a copy of this “strongly worded reprimand,” which is barely a slap on the wrist. Black advises Goforth not to send communications that are “derogatory regarding any minority” and adds, “I look forward to working together in the future within these guidelines.” The letter:
Black has repeatedly insisted that Goforth’s e-mail did not “reflect any of my beliefs.” As proof she has cited her time as a nurse, “working with people with black skin who needed medical help” around the world.