A spokesman for Corey Stewart, Virginia’s Donald Trump-allied Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, was revealed to have referred to several U.S. cities with majority-black populations as “s**tholes” and has warned against opening business in black neighborhoods, The Daily Beast reported Sunday.
Rick Shaftan uses the term to described Memphis, New Orleans and Baltimore in a series of now-deleted tweets. He further threatened to boycott New Orleans last year for its removal of Confederate monuments, saying that “you can run your gang-infested shithole without our tourist dollars and soon, our tax dollars.”
After the killings of African-Americans by white police officers in both Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, Shaftan also cautioned against business activity in areas with large black populations. “After #Ferguson, only a fool would start, finance or insure a business in a black neighborhood,” he tweeted in 2014. “The message out of Ferguson and Baltimore is a simple one: DON’T OPEN A BUSINESS IN A BLACK NEIGHBORHOOD!” he tweeted again the following year.
Stewart’s spokesman Noel Fritsch deflected away from Shaftan’s tweets.
“Far Left liberals and weak Republicans play the race card to shut down all debate, and meanwhile we can’t even have a conversation about how to improve the economy for blacks who ― as a direct result of decades of failed federal government programs ― haven’t seen economic growth in the last 50 years,” he told HuffPost in a statement.
Shaftan himself responded to The Daily Beast’s story in a Facebook post.
“I must have said something worse than that in all these years!” he wrote on Sunday. “They need to look harder.”
Stewart won the Senate Republican primary to challenge incumbent Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), who was Hillary Clinton’s 2016 vice presidential nominee. Stewart made headlines last month for telling crowds chanting “Lock her up” during his primary victory speech that putting Clinton in jail “might just happen.”
He has also campaigned against the removal of Confederate statues, claiming the Confederate flag isn’t racist and comparing politicians who want to remove the statues to the self-described Islamic State.
This story has been updated to include comment from the Corey Stewart campaign.