House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on May 25 revoked his endorsement of Ted Howze, a candidate for a California House district, after the emergence of disturbing social media posts that disparaged Democrats, Muslims, and a survivor of a mass shooting.
“In light of Mr. Howze’s disappointing comments, Leader McCarthy has withdrawn his endorsement. As the leader has previously stated, hateful rhetoric has no place within the Republican Party,” Drew Florio, a McCarthy spokesman, said in a statement on May 25, Politico reported.
The troubling posts, since-deleted, were unearthed by Politico, and included deriding Islam as a “death cult,” accusing Hillary Clinton and her 2016 campaign chairman, John Podesta, of murder, and lambasting Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) of “hitting the crack pipe too hard.” Another post questioned whether “a Muslim [can] ever truly be a good American citizen.”
Howze responded to the allegations in a statement that acknowledged the content as “negative and ugly ideas,” but said someone else authored and posted the messages without his knowledge or consent.
“Like many folks in my middle-age group, I learned the very hard lesson to never allow anyone access to social media accounts or passwords,” Howze said, according to Politico. “I made the mistake of allowing others access to these accounts unknowingly—and I am angered, horrified, and extremely offended that these ugly ideas were shared or posted by those individuals several years ago.”
Tim Rosales, his campaign manager, declined to name the individual responsible for the offensive posts, but told The Modesto Bee that “people [Howze] knew, people he was familiar with made these comments [and retweets]. He’s very upset. This is not who he is. He really is disgusted by the whole thing.”
Howze is running against Josh Harder, a Democrat, who won California’s 10th Congressional District seat from Republican Jeff Denham in 2018.
Harder, in a recent Twitter post, shared several screengrabs of what he called “vile social media posts” that he attributed to Howze.
One of the posts, dated Feb. 8, 2018, states, “I am still waiting for any Democrat, any, to explain the reasoning for referring to illegal immigrants, more accurately criminal foreign invaders, as ‘Dreamers’?”
“I’ll never understand how these people can so blindly divorce themselves from reality and the sentiment of average Americans,” the post continued.
Following revelations about the content of the controversial posts, Howze has faced mounting backlash, including withdrawals of support from state Republicans and local officials.
National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) Chairman Tom Emmer, voicing his opposition, told Politico in a statement, “These statements are unacceptable and not indicative of the Republican Party and what we are building here at the NRCC with our diverse slate of candidates.”
While McCarthy expressed his opposition to the posts, he didn’t officially pull his endorsement until May 25.
“The content in question on Mr. Howze’s social media channels is disappointing and disturbing. Bigotry and hateful rhetoric—in any form—have no place in the Republican Party,” McCarthy said in an earlier statement to Politico. “These posts are unacceptable and do not reflect the Ted Howze that I have briefly interacted with.”