Photo: Joe Raedle (Getty)

Karin Housley, the Republican candidate challenging Minnesota Sen. Tina Smith in a special election for the seat formerly occupied by Sen. Al Franken, is struggling to explain why she compared former First Lady Michelle Obama to a chimpanzee nearly a decade ago in a recently resurfaced Facebook post made public by HuffPost.

Responding to the Obamas’ 2009 visit to the Buckingham Palace, Housley wrote:

Michelle is soooo far from cool. Don’t we expect our First Ladies to at least stand up straight? (And my dear sister, know the proper etiquette and DO NOT TOUCH THE QUEEN!)

Then, in a subsequent comment, Housley added:

I do miss Nancy Reagan. Ronald even more. Speaking of Bedtime for Bonzo, I think even that chimp stood up straighter than Michelle. Uh-oh, someone is going to make a comment.

Screenshot: @DanielMarans (Facebook/Twitter)

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Michelle Obama’s 2009 visit with the royal family had been punctuated by a brief moment of diplomatic scrambling when the first lady spontaneously put her arm around Queen Elizabeth’s shoulder—a move that the monarch didn’t seem to mind one bit. 

News of Housley’s racist comparison between Michelle Obama and an ape comes just one week after Environmental Protection Agency head Andrew Wheeler was discovered to have liked a similarly bigoted meme on Facebook in 2013, depicting the Obamas looking hungrily at a photoshopped banana.

We’ve reached out to the Housley campaign for comment on the recently uncovered Facebook post, and will update this story if they respond. In the meantime, however, Housley campaign spokesperson Jake Schneider defended the post, writing to HuffPost that reporting on the story was doing Democratic Sen. “Tina Smith’s dirty work for her.”

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“This is what the radical left does when they are losing,” Schneider continued. “They attack Republicans so they don’t have to come up with solutions to the problems Minnesotans are facing.”

One problem Minnesotans are facing? A racist Facebook poster is one of their two choices in this election.