NEW YORK: House Republican leaders distanced themselves from Ted Howze, their candidate for California’s hotly contested 10th Congressional District, after Politico published posts from his social media accounts that slandered Muslims, immigrants and people of color.
When the news site first published the story, with screenshots of the later-deleted offensive content, Howze denied that he was the author.
He said he was “upset” and “disgusted” by the comments, and claimed they had been written by other people who had obtained his password. But he refused to reveal who those people were.
The Republican Party had remained quiet until a second Politico investigation unearthed at least a dozen additional hostile Facebook posts that were written in 2016 and signed with Howze’s name.
Calling the content “disappointing” and “disturbing,” House minority leader Kevin McCarthy said he and the National Republican (Congressional) Committee (NRCC) will “take immediate action if Howze is found to be the originator of these posts.”
McCarthy added: “Bigotry and hateful rhetoric — in any form — have no place in the Republican Party.”
The inflammatory posts, tweets and retweets, which as of Tuesday were still accessible on the candidate’s social media accounts, contain extremely offensive references to Islam and the Prophet Muhammad.
In one post, Howze wrote that former President Barack Obama should be arrested for treason because “he puts the welfare of foreign Muslims ahead of his own citizens.”
Howze also claimed that Muslims cannot be good US citizens, adding: “The Western world and Christian Nations should all be very suspicious of all Muslims.”
The NRCC has removed Howze from its Young Guns program while awaiting the party’s investigation into the origins of the posts.
Membership of the program gives candidates greater visibility, and is a signal for donors to direct their money.
The election for California’s 10th Congressional District is due to take place in November.
The Republicans currently have 198 seats and need 218 to reclaim a majority in the House.