Rep. Aaron Schock’s PR Man Resigns Over Racist Posts

His Facebook profile was public

Remember Benjamin Cole? Earlier this week, the comms director for Illinois Representative Aaron Schock won some unwanted headlines for refusing to let a Washington Post reporter see his boss’s Downton Abbey-inspired office.

Yesterday, Schock responded to the #DowntonOffice controversy (yes, really) and a complaint from a congressional ethics group by agreeing to pay for said renovations, which look quite nice.

But things got a whole lot worse for Cole this morning: the liberal site Think Progress examined his (public) Facebook page and found a few posts that are…well…

These posts from October 2013 included a video, shot from the window of Cole’s apartment in D.C., of two African-American individuals walking down the sidewalk (the National Zoo was closed at the time for renovations):

cole 1

Note the hashtag #gentrifytoday…

cole 2

Cole wisely deleted them, but not before various news outlets posted on the story.

Earlier this afternoon, BuzzFeed added fuel to the fire, noting posts in which Cole wrote of his desire to put “as many Black Criminals who live and loiter on [his] street behind bars” and joked about building a mosque on White House grounds for President Obama.

The story moved quickly from there: political blog Roll Call wrote that Cole was “desperately in need of a do-over,” but that opportunity never arrived. While one of our contacts guessed that Cole would resign before noon, he didn’t do so until nearly 2 PM.

Here’s Schock’s statement to the local Journal Star:

“I am extremely disappointed by the inexcusable and offensive online comments made by a member of my staff. I would expect better from any member of my team. Upon learning about them I met with Mr. Cole and he offered his resignation which I have accepted.”

Cole, who is also a Baptist pastor, admitted in a 2008 article following Obama’s victory that he had “been forced to wrestle with his own prejudices,” and it would seem that they ultimately cost him his job.

Perhaps he should have taken the Brian Williams approach to social media:

(Screenshots via Think Progress)

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