The acting chief of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Andrew Wheeler, is under scrutiny over his social media engagement. The Huffington Post reports that the acting administrator has allegedly engaged with racist and inflammatory content across several social media platforms since 2013, including with content posted in the last month.
Andrew Wheeler replaced Scott Pruitt at the helm of the EPA after Pruitt resigned in July over accusations of corruption and wasting taxpayers’ money, as Huffington Post reported at the time.
Among the inflammatory posts Wheeler engaged with was a blatantly racist image of the Obamas, and Tweets regarding the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory, which famously resulted in a gunman entering a Washington D.C. pizzeria.
In another comment, Wheeler jokes that Hilary Clinton was mentioned among the Bible’s apocalyptic descriptions. He wrote, “I think she’s mentioned in the Book of Revelations… right after the Four Horsemen”.
Most recently, Wheeler liked a tweet from the documentary filmmaker, Dinesh D’Souza, rejecting the validity of Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations against Brett Kavanaugh.
Although the interactions largely occurred before the coal lobbyist took the top job at the EPA, they paint an unflattering picture of Wheeler’s personal beliefs.
When Huffington Post reached out to Wheeler for comment, he denied recalling engaging with the racist image of Barack and Michelle Obama. He also admitted to clicking on Tweets from conspiracy theorists without verifying the source.
He said, “I have been a prolific social media user and liked inadvertently liked countless social media posts”. Wheeler added, Specifically, I do not remember the post depicting President Obama… As for some of the other posts, I agreed with the content and was unaware of the sources.”
This isn’t the first time Wheeler has been in trouble over his indiscriminate use of social media. In 2016, he called Donald Trump a “bully” on Facebook, adding, he “doesn’t know how government works.” The Washington Post reported the incident last year.
Several officials in Trump’s government have resigned over bigoted and racist remarks made online, including Re. Jamie Johnson, who, according to CNN, was forced to resign last October after he insinuated black people are lazy.
What's Your Reaction?
Oliver is a UK-born freelance writer and journalist based in Boston. He is a self-confessed politics junkie with a passion for foreign and environmental policy. His work has been featured on Open Democracy, International Policy Digest, and the London Economic. He was a regular contributor for ASEAN Today.