Benjamin Cole, a senior adviser for policy and communications to Congressman Aaron Schock, R-Ill., resigned Thursday afternoon after racist Facebook posts were published by ThinkProgress. Cole, 38, joined Schock's staff in March and worked for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee from 2009 to 2011, according to the Chicago Tribune.
ThinkProgress posted screenshots of Cole’s Facebook posts from 2013, some of which referred to his D.C. neighborhood with the hashtag #gentrifytoday. In the posts, Cole compared blacks to animals escaping from the National Zoo and engaging in “mating rituals.”
Subsequently, BuzzFeed dug farther back and found a Cole Facebook post from 201o that suggested “they should build a mosque on the White House grounds,” because "it would be nice for the President to have his own house of worship," referring to the claim that President Obama is Muslim.
Schock's office released the following statement: "I am extremely disappointed by the inexcusable and offensive online comments made by a member of my staff. I would expect better from any member of my team. Upon learning about them I met with Mr. Cole and he offered his resignation which I have accepted."
In 2008, Cole, who has a bachelor's degree in biblical studies and a master's in divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote an article in BaptistNews entitled "Baptists, Bigotry and Barack Obama." In the article, he was critical of other Baptist pastors for their racist responses to President Obama's victory. He also confessed, “During the course of the past year, I too have been forced to wrestle with my own prejudices. At times, I’ve joined the bigoted banter and helped to scratch the old wounds of racism.”
â€” ThinkProgress (@thinkprogress) February 6, 2015