Yeah, that’s just as bad

I’m not sure what to say to this:

Calls mounted Monday for the Senate vice president to resign after he compared Italy’s first black Cabinet minister to an orangutan, with the Italian premier lamenting that the country had been ‘‘shamed’’ by such insults and demanding they stop immediately.

Roberto Calderoli, a leader of the anti-immigrant Northern League, has insisted he was only joking when he made the ‘‘aesthetic’’ comment about Cecile Kyenge at a League rally last weekend.

He told the Corriere della Sera newspaper on Monday that he compares all his colleagues to animals and that what he says at a political rally shouldn’t have any bearing on his work as the Senate No. 2.

Kyenge, a Congolese-born eye doctor, has been insulted with racist slurs from the Northern League ever since she was named integration minister in April. One Northern League politician has called her a Congolese ‘‘monkey,’’ while another has said she deserved to be raped.

I’m a little confused, does Calderoli think people are upset because they thought he was saying Kyenge was literally an orangutan? There’s more here:

Cecile Kyenge, an Italian citizen born in the Democratic  Republic of Congo, has been the target of repeated racial slurs  since her appointment as integration minister in April.

Roberto Calderoli, vice president of Italy’s Senate, said on  Saturday at a political rally in the northern town of Treviglio,  “I love animals – bears and wolves, as everyone knows – but when  I see the pictures of Kyenge I cannot but think of, even if I’m  not saying she is one, the features of an orangutan.”

He said the success of Kyenge encouraged “illegal  immigrants” want to come to Italy, and she should be a minister  “in her own country”, according to media reports.

Hmm, so it sounds like he was making racist remarks. I’m completely surprised, at least it was better than this:

In 2006, he was forced to resign as reform minister after  displaying a T-shirt mocking the prophet Muhammad during a state  news broadcast. Later the same year, after Italy won the soccer  World Cup, he made racist comments about the French team.

While Italy had won the cup with ethnic Italians, France had  lost because its players were “niggers, Muslims and communists”.

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