John Picchioti, a Republican state representative from Fairfield, apologized yesterday after it was revealed that he had published the text of an incendiary anti-Muslim chain letter in a public post from his personal Facebook account.
“I apologize for the offensive post that appeared on my Facebook page. I received the message in an email and only read the first few paragraphs which praised nurses and spoke glowingly of the Catholic faith. I did not however, read the end of the message prior to posting it to my Facebook page. As soon as I was made aware of the anti-Muslim sentiments in the second half of the post I immediately deleted it. It was an oversight on my part and I apologize for the offensive nature of the message and I in no way share those beliefs about the Muslim faith. I will be making no further comments on this issue,” wrote Picchioti in a statement distributed by Maine House Republicans communications director Rob Poindexter.
He also took a swipe at me for writing about it.
“It was a post and unfortunately, I’m a public figure so to speak, and plus he (Tipping) is very far left,” Picchiotti said in an interview with the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel. “I understand what they’re doing; it’s strictly a political thing.”
I bet you can guess what’s coming next.
Picchiotti took down his whole Facebook page a few hours after the post began to attract attention, but before he did progressive activist Steven Biel browsed through his recent timeline and found a dozen more examples of racist and bigoted posts, mostly targeting Muslims and African-Americans (all screenshots are his).
(americasupdate.com takes you to a rather fascinating video outlining an alleged conspiracy between President Obama and the leaders of the Catholic Church to cover up an approaching American genocide.)
And these are all from just the last few months – only as far back as Biel got before Picchiotti locked his page. They were all posted months after Senator Michael Willette had been forced to resign as chair of the State and Local Government Committee for his own, very similar posts targeting Muslims and President Obama.
So much for Picchiotti not understanding what he was posting or not sharing “those beliefs about the Muslim faith.”
The Maine Democratic Party released a statement after the first post by Picchiotti came to light calling for the Maine GOP to censure him for his comments.
“There has been an unfortunate trend of Maine Republican lawmakers and supporters promoting harmful racist and xenophobic rhetoric this year,” said Democratic Party Chair Phil Bartlett. “This reflects very poorly on the Maine Republican Party and their leadership. We urge Maine Republican leaders to follow the RNC’s lead and quickly censure any lawmakers who use or promote offensive, racist remarks. It’s time for Maine Republican leaders to send a strong message that our state will not tolerate this type of hate speech so these instances do not continue.”
Republican leaders have not yet commented on the issue, beyond reiterating Picchiotti’s original claim of ignorance.
In addition to serving in the Legislature, Picchiotti also holds a seat on the Fairfield Town Council. He is up for re-election on Tuesday.