Andrew Wheeler, who became the new EPA chief after the resignation of former administrator Scott Pruitt, has a revealing social media history.
The American Bridge 21st Century PAC looked into Wheeler’s history of Facebook posts and tweets from his official accounts over the last several years, and found a disturbing trend of the current EPA chief frequently engaging with racist and conspiratorial content on social media. One post Wheeler liked from 2013 was an image of the Obamas staring at a white person holding a banana, which was photoshopped into the original image. The post was on a page entitled “Mia mamma e vergine,” which translates to “My mom is a virgin.”
In 2014, Wheeler commented on an article posted to Facebook featuring a photo of Hillary Clinton by suggesting that she was the antichrist. Wheeler commented that he had seen a reference to Hillary Clinton in the Bible “after the four horsemen” (the four horsemen of the apocalypse are mentioned in Revelation 6, and the antichrist is mentioned in Revelation 13).
HuffPost, which reviewed the posts American Bridge discovered, also looked through the Twitter account the EPA chief used prior to his ascendancy to the agency’s top post, and found that he retweeted a tweet from Jack Posobiec — one of the main propagators of the “pizzagate” conspiracy theory alleging top Democrats ran a pedophilia ring out of the basement of a pizzeria that has no basement. Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) has also retweeted Posobiec in the past.
Aside from Posobiec, Wheeler also liked tweets from convicted felon Dinesh D’Souza and InfoWars’ Paul Joseph Watson.
In a statement to HuffPost, the EPA chief defended his engagement with those posts, saying that while he agreed with the content, he was “unaware of the sources.” He claimed to not remember liking the racist anti-Obama post.
“Over the years, I have been a prolific social media user and liked and inadvertently liked countless social media posts,” Wheeler told the outlet in an email.
Regardless of whether or not he remembers engaging with certain content, problematic statements made in public forums have been disqualifying for Trump administration officials in the past. HuffPost pointed out that a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) community outreach official, a former DHS policy analyst, and an AmeriCorps official all resigned after disparaging comments made about minorities and the Islamic religion, as well as ties to white supremacist groups, came to light.
Jake Shepherd is a freelance writer from Cleveland, Ohio. He enjoys poring through financial disclosure statements, spirited debate, and good scotch. He remains eternally optimistic about the Browns. Email him at jake.d.shepherd.21 (at) hotmail (dot) com.