New EPA chief liked racist Obama memes, retweeted conspiracy theorist

New EPA chief liked racist Obama memes, retweeted conspiracy theorist
© Anna Moneymaker

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a history of social media engagement that includes liking a racist meme of the Obamas and retweeting a renowned conspiracy theorist.

A look back at Andrew Wheeler’s social media use across various platforms shows that the former energy lobbyist turned EPA administrator has for years engaged with and endorsed conservative-leaning and occasionally offensive material, HuffPost first reported on Tuesday.

ADVERTISEMENT
Examples of his questionable social media use include a meme he liked from his personal Facebook account in 2013 that depicted then-President Obama and first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaPrinceton must finish what it started The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Justices rule Manhattan prosecutor, but not Congress, can have Trump tax records The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump takes on CDC over schools MORE sitting at a sports game looking on intently while a white person’s hand holds up a banana in the foreground.

“Over the years, I have been a prolific social media user and liked and inadvertently liked countless social media posts. Specifically, I do not remember the post depicting President Obama and the First Lady. As for some of the other posts, I agreed with the content and was unaware of the sources,” Wheeler said in a statement provided to The Hill.

More recently, Wheeler liked a tweet from right-wing documentary filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza last month that cast doubt on Christine Blasey Ford’s sexual assault accusations against then-Supreme Court nominee Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughRoberts court tempers conservative expectations OVERNIGHT ENERGY: WH pushed for 'correction' to Weather Service tweet contradicting Trump in 'Sharpiegate' incident, watchdog says | Supreme Court rules that large swath of Oklahoma belongs to Native American tribe Five takeaways from Supreme Court's rulings on Trump tax returns MORE.

The tweet read: “Even if she told her psychiatrist the same thing--which she did not--one cannot corroborate one’s own story. That requires independent evidence entirely missing in this case. #KavanaughConfirmation.”

The same month, Wheeler also liked a tweet from Paul Joseph Watson, an editor at the conspiracy site InfoWars. His tweet said the blocking of Hollywood actor James Woods from Twitter was a result of the platform's biased views against conservatives.

And in February, Wheeler retweeted Jack Posobiec, who helped spread the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory.

Democratic advocacy group American Bridge 21st Century was the first to find and share the social media posts with HuffPost.

Wheeler replaced former EPA Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats chart course to 'solving the climate crisis' by 2050 | Commerce Department led 'flawed process' on Sharpiegate, watchdog finds | EPA to end policy suspending pollution monitoring by end of summer Watchdog: EPA hasn't provided 'sufficient justification' for decision not to recover Pruitt travel spending OVERNIGHT ENERGY: DOJ whistleblower says California emissions probe was 'abuse of authority' | EPA won't defend policy blocking grantees from serving on boards | Minnesota sues Exxon, others over climate change MORE in July. Pruitt resigned amidst a number of controversies including his exclusive use of first-class travel, 24-hour security detail and other ethical concerns.