A Republican state senator apologized on the Senate floor Wednesday for what Democrats called “bigoted, racist” remarks he posted on his Facebook page, including one that implied President Obama is related to members of a terrorist group.

The comments by Sen. Michael Willette, R-Presque Isle, on race, Islam, immigration and the president have drawn national media attention.

The president was the primary target of a conservative meme that Willette posted March 1, touching off calls by the Maine Democratic Party for his resignation and a request from Democratic senators that the Republican’s remarks be publicly repudiated by Senate President Michael Thibodeau, R-Winterport.

The Portland-based chapter of the NAACP also called on Thibodeau to remove Willette as chairman of the Legislature’s State and Local Government Committee, and to examine whether he committed any ethical violations as a state lawmaker.

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