The Trump administration's acting Environmental Protection Agency administrator said he doesn't recall liking a controversial image of Barack Obama on social media that showed former president and his wife Michelle looking at a banana.
Andrew Wheeler liked the picture of the former president and his wife, former first lady Michelle Obama, that is partially obscured by a white person holding a banana sometime after it was posted on Facebook in 2013 by "Mia mamma è vergine," the Huffington Post first reported Tuesday. The Southern Poverty Law Center told the outlet the content was “blatantly racist."
But Wheeler dismissed accusations that he's racist.
“Over the years, I have been a prolific social media user and liked and inadvertently liked countless social media posts,” Wheeler, who replaced ousted EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt in July, told the Washington Examiner in a statement. “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.”
The Huffington Post was tipped off about Wheeler's social media activity by a Democratic political action committee called American Bridge 21st Century. Wheeler also promoted conspiracy theories online, including the so-called "Pizzagate" theory that connected John Podesta — Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign chairman — with an alleged child sex ring run out of a Washington-area pizza restaurant, according to the Huffington Post.
This is not the first time Wheeler's Facebook account has caused him problems. He deleted a February 2016 post in which he said President Trump should be disqualified from running for the White House because he was a "bully," who “hasn’t been that successful” in business, and “has demonstrated through the debates and interviews that he doesn’t understand how the government works," the Washington Post reported in October last year.