Illinois GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner hired a new “body man” — the government staffer who spends long days with governor — Monday but fired him the same day after it was discovered he has a history of writing racially-charged, homophobic and sexually explicit tweets.
“I’d f— her teeth straight,” said one.
“To the Indian people in the library: SHUT THE F— UP!,” said another by the Twitter account belonging to Ben Tracy, who was hired to serve as the staffer who travels with the governor, handle scheduling and other duties.
After another social media account started flagging the tweets Monday, Tracy’s account was put into a private, protected mode.
But POLITICO obtained screen grabs of Tracy’s tweets, some dating back to 2013.
He repeatedly used the word “faggot” and in one, says “I bet you liked that #fag,” responding to someone who tweeted: “saying insanity bent me over and raped me would be an understatement.”
Tracy did not respond to a request for comment.
Earlier today, POLITICO asked Rauner’s office about the new hiring and shared examples of the social media content with the communications office. Reached by phone, Laurel Patrick, director of communications, said the office would look into it immediately.
Later, Patrick said Tracy was fired.
“These tweets are unacceptable,” Patrick said. “The individual in question is no longer an employee of our administration.”
The personal aide position should have been one of the administration’s most sensitive hirings.
But the governor’s office has been upended by a series of recent staff departures. Rauner cleaned house last week, firing a series of top aides, including his chief of staff and deputies last week in the wake of a veto override.
Several former staffers told POLITICO that a slew of resignations followed the firings, due to Rauner’s heavy reliance on a hardline conservative think tank, the Illinois Policy Institute. The resignations continued today, including an official who once held a critical policy role in the administration, the office’s digital staff and the Washington D.C. liaison to the governor’s office.
Before the staff shake-up, it was the office policy to research any potential political appointee before giving them a job, including vetting their social media, said a former member of the Rauner administration. That former employee added that the governor himself would need to sign off on his own body man because of the sensitivity of the post.