Former state Election Commission Chairman Rusty DePass read a statement during an NAACP news conference today in Columbia, saying his comments were offensive and foolish.
Mr. DePass also said he apologized to the first lady in a letter. He would not release the letter.
Minutes after the report of a brief gorilla escape from a Columbia zoo Friday, Mr. DePass posted on a Facebook page that he was sure "it's just one of Michelle's ancestors probably harmless." The posting then was publicized on a state politics blog.
NAACP President Lonnie Randolph said the apology was an improvement on Mr. DePass' earlier attempt to defend his comments.