Benjamin Cole Desperately in Need of a Do-Over
Friday can’t possibly come soon enough for embattled House staffer Benjamin Cole.
The spokesman for Illinois Republican Aaron Schock is having what’s got to be his worst week in Washington, a parade of public humiliations that began with the discovery of his boss’ unusual taste in office décor.
“You’ve got a member [of Congress] willing to talk to you about other things … why sour it by rushing to write some gossipy piece?” Cole, in a painfully JV attempt to trade something (anything!) for squashing the revelation Schock likes artsy stuff, pleaded with political profiler Ben Terris in Monday’s Washington Post . “Downton Office” dragged on for the next two days, garnering a complaint about Schock’s gratis redecorating scheme to the Office of Congressional Ethics from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington which, in turn, developed into Schock agreeing to shell out some dough for services rendered.
Cole was flung right back into the hot seat Thursday after Think Progress pieced together a series of Facebook posts in which the GOP aide — who got his start on Capitol Hill working for Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and made a big deal about returning last spring — shares some provocative observations about life in D.C.
In the screenshots highlighted by TP Senior Investigative Reporter Josh Israel, the 38-year-old senior adviser for policy and communications — who, according to Legistorm, also boasts a master of divinity in theology as well as a Ph.D. in philosophy — categorizes a pair of African Americans outside his window as “animals,” advocates for speedier gentrification efforts, nonchalantly describes a neighborhood incident (“one of the hood rats on my street just got shot by another hood rat,” he scribbled online) and vents about an altercation he had on the street.
“You white people need to learn,” Cole said a black woman chided him after the two bumped into one another while walking.
Congressional press secretaries ought to be used to such scrutiny on their personal social media accounts by now. A similar flare up recently cost Elizabeth Lauten her job as communications director for Tennessee Republican Stephen Fincher after her unsolicited critique of the first daughters went viral.
As has become de rigueur during crisis containment mode, Cole has since completely sanitized his Facebook feed . All that remains are two snapshots of a fire engine-red row house and the acknowledgment that he attended a Super Bowl Party on Feb. 1.
Lord knows what fresh hell he’ll awaken to tomorrow.
But in the spirit of helping a brother out, HOH would like to provide this handy dandy guide to places congressional spokespeople (or anybody, really) should try REALLY hard to not express racist opinions :
- Social media.
- The office.
- Around the Thanksgiving dinner table.
- Waiting in line for the bus.
- Within earshot of reporters.
You’re welcome, America.
The 114th: CQ Roll Call’s Guide to the New Congress
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