A Mississippi State Senator retweeted a message of support from a blatantly racist twitter account the other day.
State Senator Chris McDaniel (R-MS), who is also running for the U.S. Senate against Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS), retweeted this message:
The tweet has since been deleted.
The account, rrsray, has a bio that reads, “Nationalist, staunch proponent of 2nd & 10th Amendment, GoldenDawn & Southern Nationalism. In Unity we find Nobility & unconquerable Strength.” Golden Dawn is a right-wing political party in Greece whose party leader has “openly identified [the party] as nationalist and racist.”
Among some of the other, more racist tweets from the rrsray account:
According to Talking Points Memo, McDaniel’s spokesman did not respond to requests for comment. The same article also notes that McDaniel had previously blamed a rise in gun violence on hip-hop and defended waterboarding. McDaniel had also previously attended neo-Confederate/pro-secession conferences.
So, by retweeting such a racist account, does that mean that McDaniel agrees with its content? Hard to say, but if he didn’t agree with it, you’d really think that a spokesperson would have said, “The Senator does not condone the racism in that tweet.” It’s an easy enough fix, and when you combine this tweet with some of McDaniel’s previous history……
One of the additional problems is that McDaniel lent himself wide open to that particular line of attack. The lesson is that yes, sometimes, an RT does = an endorsement. If you are an elected official, as I have said before, your Social Media use is held to a higher standard. If you retweet favorable content from a racist twitter account, it does appear as if you are endorsing that content. So, be careful with what you retweet.