Staff for U.S. Rep. Dave Brat, R-7th, removed numerous “likes” from his campaign Twitter account on Thursday after an outcry over Brat liking controversial tweets, one of them questioning whether a survivor of the Florida school shooting was an actor.
Brat’s office said the tweets in question had been liked by a staffer who mistakenly believed the action was being done on her personal Twitter account, not the Brat campaign account.
A Brat statement said “the campaign is putting safeguards in place to ensure that it will not happen again.”
Among the tweets that were liked by his campaign Twitter account was one that attacked David Hogg, a survivor of the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., who has been outspoken in TV interviews since then in calling for gun control.
When someone likes a tweet, a heart on the tweet turns red, and the action is visible to the public.
Among the tweets liked by the Brat account was one on Feb. 26 directed at CNN, saying the next interview with Hogg should ask questions like “Who is paying your expenses?” and “Do you have an agent?”
Several Brat opponents and constituents made screenshots of some of the liked tweets and shared them with reporters on Twitter. The Brat account then removed many of the likes.
The full statement from the Brat campaign:
“It has come to our attention that a campaign staffer who helps with posting in the @DaveBratVA7th twitter account mistakenly liked tweets on this account when they believed they were logged into their personal account. This was against our policy of Dave approving twitter content. Dave did not approve the “liking” of these tweets nor would he (have) approved of liking the question about Mr. Hogg. As has consistently been his position, neither Dave nor his staff, support any alt-right views or individuals. The staffer’s personal tweet likes have been removed, and the campaign is putting safeguards in place to ensure that it will not happen again.”
Brat has had other troubles with social media in the past year.
In July, Brat removed a post from his Twitter and Instagram accounts in which he endorsed sending former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Libya to be the ambassador.
Brat said at the time that a new staffer made the post without his approval.
In September it was revealed that a Texas woman named Sara James who had been sparring on Brat’s social media accounts with liberal opponents was actually a well-paid staffer for his campaign. James is no longer with the Brat campaign.
Brat is seeking a third term in Congress this year. Three Democrats are vying for their party’s nomination to challenge him: Helen Alli, Abigail Spanberger and Dan Ward. The primary is June 12.