WASHINGTON — The Tea Party political movement saw a major split over the weekend, with the National Tea Party Federation expelling a member group after its spokesman wrote an online post satirizing a fictional letter from what he called "Colored People" to President Abraham Lincoln.
On its website, the federation stated it had given the Tea Party Express, through direct contact with one of its leaders, a deadline to rebuke and remove spokesman Mark Williams.
"That leader's response was clear: they have no intention of taking the action we required for their group to continue as a member of the National Tea Party Federation," the federation stated.
Therefore, effective immediately the National Tea Party Federation is expelling Tea Party Express from the ranks of our membership."
Federation spokesman David Webb, interviewed Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation," called the blog post "clearly offensive."
Williams, who said his letter was satirical, started it like this: "Dear Mr. Lincoln, We Coloreds have taken a vote and decided that we don't cotton to that whole emancipation thing. Freedom means having to work for real, think for ourselves, and take consequences along with the rewards. That is just far too much to ask of us Colored People and we demand that it stop!"
"Bailouts are just big money welfare and isn't that what we want all Coloreds to strive for?" he added. "What kind of racist would want to end big money welfare? What they need to do is start handing the bail outs directly to us Coloreds!"
A conservative talk radio host, Williams later removed the post as criticism grew.
Williams' post was a reply to a resolution by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) earlier this month that called on Tea Party leaders to "repudiate the racist element and activities" within the political movement.
Immediately after the resolution, Williams said it was unfortunate that the NAACP had chosen to "profiteer off race-baiting and fear mongering" when it could be doing so much to help the black community.
He also questioned the motives of African-American leaders, suggesting they were taking advantage of the publicity the resolution generated.
"I'm not surprised they are jumping into the fray here because the NAACP just tapped a Gulf oil well full of cash contributions that will arrive from this resolution," Williams said. "And I know Al (Sharpton) and Jesse (Jackson, Jr.) want their piece of it. The slave traders of the 16th century should have been as good at exploiting Africans as these people are, because it's just disgusting."
On its website, the Tea Party Express does not say how many supporters it has, but on Facebook it has 600 followers.
The federation says 61 groups are members, and that it has "affiliate relationships" with 21 other groups.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.