GOP congressman now has to deal with adviser’s racist Facebook posts

Benjamin Cole isn’t just Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.)’s senior adviser for policy and communications. Based on Facebook screenshots posted by ThinkProgress, he’s also a horrifically racist man.

The liberal blog acquired screenshots from Cole’s Facebook page that show him referring to African-American residents of his Washington, D.C., neighborhood as “animals” and “hood rats” and describing neighborhood incidents with the hashtag “#gentrifytoday.”

ThinkProgress

ThinkProgress

According to ThinkProgress, Cole had removed his posts by Wednesday, Feb. 4, a day before the story ran online. The site has posted several other screenshots besides the ones above, including one from a video that Cole posted of a woman breaking a glass bottle “to use as a weapon.”

Neither Cole nor anyone else in Rep. Schock’s office has commented on ThinkProgress’ story. The Illinois Republican legislator was already having a bad week after the Washington Post revealed his office’s elaborate and expensive Downton Abbey-themed decorations.

Republican congressmen have a sad history of employing staffers with deeply bigoted beliefs. In 2013, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) fired a staffer named Jack Hunter after it emerged that Hunter used to host a racist radio show in the persona of a Confederate firebrand called “the Southern Avenger.” It took Sen. Paul two weeks to make that decision.

Benjamin Cole used to have a Twitter account, but he deleted it sometime on Thursday.

Update 2:25pm CT, Feb. 5: Politico’s Jake Sherman reports that Cole has resigned.

Update 11:11pm CT, Feb. 5: Updated story to reflect Cole deleting his Twitter account. 

Photo via dogs & music/Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Eric Geller

Eric Geller

Eric Geller is a politics reporter who focuses on cybersecurity, surveillance, encryption, and privacy. A former staff writer at the Daily Dot, Geller joined Politico in June 2016, where he's focused on policymaking at the White House, the Justice Department, the State Department, and the Commerce Department.