Local officials blast Florida GOP official over ‘cruel’ Facebook posts

Local officials blast Florida GOP official over 'cruel' Facebook posts
© Facebook: Bryan Lober

A Florida Democrat hammered a local GOP politician on Friday over a Facebook post suggesting she seek an abortion and others that included him joking about using a snowplow to run over protesters.

Brevard Democratic Chair Stacey Patel told the Orlando Sentinel that conduct from county commissioner Bryan Lober (R) on Facebook was “unacceptable” after Lober reportedly wrote it would be acceptable for Patel to get an abortion because her “litter” of children would supposedly not be raised with a work ethic.

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“I’m not typically a big abortion proponent but in Patel’s case, I might look the other way as I can only imagine what a scourge of humanity (and on our economy) her offspring would prove to be given that her litter would likely be raised with an entitlement mentality, zero work ethic and taught the hypocritically racist and sexist position that the white man is evil,” Lober wrote, according to the Sentinel.

Patel responded, telling the Sentinel: “It is entirely inappropriate to dehumanize one’s political adversary. To refer to my potential children as a ‘litter” and a ‘scourge on humanity’ is truly beyond the pale.”

Patel called the comments “cruel” and “unprovoked,” Florida Today reported.

Thomas Gaume, a Republican running for Palm Bay’s city council, also released a statement condemning the remarks and calling for Lober’s resignation.

“I condemn the actions of Bryan Lober, I am asking that he resign his current position on the County Commission as not only does he not represent Brevard County well, but his actions have removed the focus from issues that are of much greater consequence than Mr. Lobers hurt feelings, or his need to belittle those who question his motives or intent,” Gaume said in a statement.

“I ask that all Brevard Republicans join me in condemning these actions, and send notice that we will not tolerate such attacks by those that represent us,” Gaume continued, adding that “silence” on Lober’s remarks from Brevard County’s Republican Party was “telling, and shows a lack of leadership that is guiding the Brevard Republican Party.”

In other comments highlighted by the newspaper on a public Brevard County Facebook group, the county commissioner appeared to join in with other Republicans in joking about running over left-leaning protesters.

“I wouldn’t recommend using a snow plow. It might look intentional,” Lober joked after another person wrote “If you hit one back up and go again. (just kidding).”

In a statement to the Orlando Sentinel, Lober defended his conduct on Facebook as that of a private individual and accused Patel of not supporting his First Amendment rights.

“First and foremost, my comments on Facebook are made in my individual capacity, not in my capacity as an elected official. Moreover, it would be a mischaracterization to claim that either post was intended to be anything but facetious as should be evident by both the content and from the context in which they were written,” he said.

“As to the snow plow, my reference was to the Falmouth, [Mass.] incident which took place several months ago,” he added, reportedly referring to an incident in which protesters were splashed with debris and snow from a snowplow. “If you are able to find a snow plow in Brevard County, please let me know as it would be a shock to me.”

Lober was previously criticized by Patel after he threatened to contact the employer of a Florida resident who insulted him on Facebook, according to a report from Florida Today.

“Does your employer, whose name you post on your Facebook page, know you denigrate public officials while displaying their name? I’ll make sure they know,” he reportedly wrote in March to a man who had used an expletive. 

This article was updated at 8:55 p.m. on 6/16/19 to include Mr. Gaume’s statement and to reflect his remarks in the headline.

Written by Alan Smith

Alan Smith

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