A top aide to U.S. Senate candidate Nick Freitas made derogatory Facebook posts about women as recently as November.
“This is filed under ‘TOO BAD, Bitch,’” Mark Kevin Lloyd wrote Oct. 5, commenting on a story about a CBS News executive who had complained about being fired.
On Sept. 30, he wrote of Carmen Yulín Cruz, the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico: “...this crazy commie b*tch is having a meltdown.”
On Nov. 20, he wrote of former IRS official Lois Lerner: “Too bad, b*tch. Maybe you can spend your time in solitary for your own protection.”
The posts were sprinkled among other posts promoting Freitas. As of Friday, the posts were not publicly visible.
Lloyd manages field operations for Freitas, a Republican state delegate from Culpeper who is vying for his party’s nomination against Prince William County official Corey Stewart and minister E.W. Jackson. The Republican nominee will face Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va.
“I have no real comment right now,” Lloyd said Friday after a Richmond Times-Dispatch reporter read some of his Facebook posts to him. The Times-Dispatch viewed seven Facebook posts since 2015 in which Lloyd referred to Hillary Clinton or other women as the B word. The Stewart campaign brought the posts to the newspaper’s attention. They have also appeared on a website called Big League Politics.
Laura Meyers, a spokesman for the Freitas campaign, pointed out that Lloyd was not working for the campaign when he made the posts. He was hired in December.
And the campaign also referenced the recent post on the political website.
Freitas said in a statement: “Of course I don’t support that kind of talk. I also don’t have time to research the social media history of everyone prior to working for me. But, so long as we’re asking questions, perhaps some inquiry into who wrote this blog, why he wrote it, and at whose request would be a good place to start. Otherwise, this is just elevating a poorly conceived hit piece by our opponents to the level of an actual story.”
Lloyd previously took criticism for Facebook posts in 2016 when he was a director for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in Virginia. In one post, he called Islam “a barbaric cult,” The Associated Press reported that year.
He shared a meme four days after the Orlando nightclub shooting by a heavily armed Muslim who professed allegiance to the Islamic State group, The Associated Press reported. The meme said people should be forced to eat bacon before they can purchase firearms.
Leslie Caughell, an assistant professor of political science at Virginia Wesleyan University, said Facebook posts such as Lloyd’s provide a distraction for a campaign as it tries to make the case that its candidate is the best choice following the GOP’s difficulty with female voters in the November 2017 election. Last year, the Democrats easily swept three statewide offices and gained a stunning 15 seats in the state House.
“This type of sexist and derogatory language by a campaign staffer is disturbing,” Caughell said by email. “The effect of the language on (the) campaign really depends on how long this remains a story. As the candidate is trying to get his name out there for a statewide campaign, it’s not helpful to be on the defensive about the consistent use of vulgarities about women by a high level campaign staffer.”
As far as Freitas’ assertion that he doesn’t have time to research the social media history of his campaign staff, that’s believable for low-level volunteers, she said. “The de facto campaign manager seems a little different.”
In a statement, John March, spokesman for the Republican Party of Virginia, said the RPV was not aware of the specific posts by Lloyd.
“Women should never be referred to using this language under any circumstances and the RPV emphatically denounces his statements,” March said in the statement. “However, if the RTD is going to write a story about a staffer using gendered insults, they should also cover Tim Kaine’s utterly abysmal history of hiring, running for office with, seeking donations from, and campaigning with people like Harvey Weinstein, Bill Clinton, and those who aid and abet them.”