A top consultant and spokesman for Corey Stewart, the Republican nominee for US Senate in Virginia, has used the term “house negro” to criticize the GOP establishment and disparaged prominent Civil Rights figures John Lewis and Rosa Parks.
Rick Shaftan made the comments in tweets newly uncovered by CNN’s KFile. The previously unreported tweets come on the heels of a report from the Daily Beast that he described majority-black cities as “sh**holes” and told his followers not to open businesses in black neighborhoods.
Shaftan’s consulting firm, Atlantic Media & Research, has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from Stewart’s campaigns for governor and Senate, according to election records. He previously worked on Stewart’s gubernatorial campaign and for a super PAC that backed Paul Nehlen, a candidate for Paul Ryan’s congressional seat who has made racist and anti-Semitic posts on social media. Shaftan told the Daily Beast that this came before Nehlen “went wacko.” Fellow Stewart aide Noel Fritsch previously worked for Nehlen’s campaign.
Stewart, who has faced scrutiny of his own for defending Confederate symbols and publicly associating with white nationalists in the past, is challenging Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine in November.
Neither Shaftan nor the Stewart campaign returned a CNN request for comment. In response to the Daily Beast story, Shaftan wrote on Facebook, “I must have said something worse than that in all these years! They need to look harder.”
A closer look reveals that in a tweet on October 2014, Shaftan wrote, “There are a lot of parallels between the ‘House Negro’ and the GOP Establishment.”
In September 2015, Shaftan again used the derogatory term, which refers to slaves who worked in the house of their master as opposed to in the fields, implying that the slaves’ loyalty lay with the master rather than with their fellow slaves.
“Notice how Obama calls the Speaker ‘John’, like he’s a plantation owner talking to Malcolm X’s House Negro,” he tweeted.
He again used the term in September 2017, writing on Facebook, “Black ‘leaders’ are working overtime to isolate ‘the community’ from everyone who isn’t Black. And almost no black people will say anything for fear of being labeled an #UncleTom #Oreo #HouseNegro”.
In September 2015, he suggested that he did not admire civil rights figure Rosa Parks, tweeting, “Rosa Parks. Give me a effing break. How about PHYLLIS SCHLAFLY?” Schlafly was a conservative political activist.
Shaftan wrote of Democratic Georgia Rep. John Lewis in January 2017, “So what has John Lewis done besides get beat up 50+ years ago? #PompousAss.” In 1965, a then- 25-year-old Lewis was beaten badly by state troopers while marching for voting rights in Alabama.
In other posts, Shaftan referred to Michael Brown, the black teenager shot by white police officer Darren Wilson, as a “thug”, saying that he “received justice at the hands of Officer Wilson” in August 2014. In response to the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, following Brown’s shooting, Shaftan tweeted, “Animals. #Ferguson” in November 2014. In June 2017, he posted an article on Facebook about Michael Brown’s family settling a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Ferguson for a reported $1.5 million with the remark, “This is what is known in ‘the community’ as ‘hitting the lottery.’ #Cash4Thugs”.
In December 2014, Shaftan tweeted, “Because #BlackLivesMatter only applies to criminals like Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Eric Garner.”
In July of this year, Shaftan referred to New Jersey’s attorney general, the first Sikh to hold the office, as “Turban Man,” a term for which two local radio hosts were suspended last week.
“I was certainly no @ChrisChristie fan but I didn’t see those outraged about #TurbanMan complaining when people called @GovChristie #Fatso,” he wrote on Facebook. “Attacking people personally is what people do when they have nothing intelligent to say.”
In April 2017, Shaftan also hinted at the conspiracy theory that Barack Obama was not born in the United States, joking on Facebook, “You all know we never saw the REAL Obama Birth Certificate because it had Politically Incorrect 1961 language on it.”
Responding to a comment saying that he thought the birth certificate might have said “illegitimate,” Shaftan wrote, “Or ‘bastard’, or ‘colored’, or ‘Negro’, etc.”