COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina lawmakers on Wednesday removed a county-level transportation appointee from office after racist comments surfaced in social media postings on his account.
Lawmakers circulated screenshots from a Facebook account associated with Charleston County Transportation Committee appointee Robert E. Miller Jr., a developer who had served in that capacity since 2005. In one posting with a picture of former President Barack Obama’s recently-unveiled official portrait, Miller commented “DAMN MUSLIM BAST’RD!!” and used a racial epithet to describe Obama.
There was no answer Wednesday at numbers listed for the Transportation Committee or Miller’s home.
State Sen. Larry Grooms, a Republican who chairs the Charleston Senate delegation, told The Associated Press Wednesday that he spoke with Miller, who claimed his account had been hacked but that he had deleted the post concerning Obama’s portrait.
But Facebook posts obtained by AP from Miller’s account show multiple instances of racial epithets used to reference the former president — as well as other prominent black politicians, including U.S. Reps. John Lewis and Frederica Wilson — some dating back as early as mid-2017.
Grooms said he and colleagues voted Wednesday to replace Miller with another official.
Miller also serves on the executive committee for the Charleston County Republican Party, although as a precinct captain and non-voting member, according to County Party Chairman Larry Kobrovsky. On Wednesday, Kobrovsky condemned Miller’s postings, saying he wasn’t sure if he could remove him from the precinct captain position but, if not, would ask him to resign.
“That has no place in politics of our society,” Kobrovsky told AP. “There’s crazy people out there, but I don’t think that either party has a monopoly on crazy people or racists. … The issue is, how you deal with it when it comes up.” State GOP Chairman Drew McKissick also condemned Miller’s comments, saying they had no place in the Republican Party and represented the thoughts of only one person “with zero respect for others.”
Several of the posts, which were still available and publicly viewable Wednesday afternoon, received positive comments and likes from business leaders and professionals within the Charleston and greater South Carolina communities.
State Sen. Marlon Kimpson, a Democrat who pledged on social media to remove Miller from office over the portrait posting, called the language “very alarming” and urged a review of issues on which Miller has worked for various county boards on which he has served.
“We all are advocates and we all are passionate about our party leaders, but the language posted on his FB page, words are hard to describe how frightening that is for our community,” Kimpson told AP. “We are all looking in the woods for Klansmen, but we have people in positions, acting on behalf of citizens of Charleston County, who are spewing this racist language from their own mouths.”