Congressman Aaron Schock (R-IL) fired Benjamin Cole, his senior adviser for policy and communications, this week after several racist Facebook posts were unearthed.
In one post, Cole compares African Americans to zoo animals. In another, he talks about the “hoodrats” that live in his neighborhood.
Cole writes: “So apparently the closing of the National Zoo has forced the animals to conduct their mating rituals on my street. #Gentrifytoday.
Congressman Schock said in a statement:
“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.”
Think Progress notes that Cole, a former Baptist pastor, had once scolded his fellow pastors for their racist reactions to Barack Obama becoming president. In a 2008 article, he also admitted that he had struggled with his own prejudices:
“During the course of the past year, I too have been forced to wrestle with my own prejudices. At times, I’ve joined the bigoted banter and helped to scratch the old wounds of racism.”
The Chicago Tribune reports that this is the second time this week that Schock has made the news. A watchdog group accused the congressman of accepting an illegal gift and is requesting an investigation into the interior decorations of the Cannon Building.
Schock said on Wednesday that he had personally paid $6,000 to designer Annie Brahler when his office was redecorated four years ago.
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