VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The Republican Party of Virginia Beach is doing some damage control after a post from a Facebook titled “Virginia Beach Republicans” has gone viral in the local community.
The post mentioned Holocaust victims giving up their firearms to Hitler and the consequences of giving up freedoms, directing the messages toward the victims of school shootings. It appears the post has since been changed.
Many believed the page belonged to the Republican Party of Virginia Beach since it had the Facebook verified checkmark on the account, but it has no official affiliation with the group.
The party’s official Facebook is labeled “The Republican Party of Virginia Beach.”
Tina Mapes, chairwoman of the Republican Party of Virginia Beach, says the post doesn’t reflect the party’s values.
“I thought it was terribly insensitive that, and to the survivors of the Holocaust, their family members, I think it over simplifies what happened during the Holocaust,” Mapes said. “I’m not trying to keep anyone from voicing their comments, I’m just don’t want their comments to be attributed to my members, my electeds and my candidates.”
Attached to the post is a picture of shoes of the Holocaust victims.
“To see a mountain of shoes of people who perished under the worst of circumstances, and then to connect it to the tragedy in Florida, I mean it’s just not a proper thing to do,” said local Rabbi Israel Zoberman. “How can anyone comprehend that kind of destruction?”
Zoberman says, having family who survived the Holocaust, this post brings up a lot of pain.
“Two separate events,” he said. “What they have in common is that beautiful lives were taken away from us and that is truly a tragedy.”
10 On Your Side spoke with the man behind the post — James Cohen. He says it was supposed to go on a private Facebook page. But, also having relatives who survived the Holocaust, he wants it to be a reminder of what can happen when people lose their rights.
Congressman Scott Taylor and Senator Bill DeSteph both posted to their own Facebook accounts, stating they were aware of the viral post and encouraged people to follow the real account that represents the Republican Party of Virginia Beach.
“FYI, I have received many messages today about a post from a fake Virginia Beach Republican Party page on a very insensitive post. This page, while verified, is not the real page. The Republican Party of Virginia Beach is the only official party page in Virginia Beach. I’d urge my friends to leave the fake page and make sure you are following the correct one. It has been brought to the fake poser page owner’s attention before, but some people like to stir things and love attention and/or relevancy. Pls. Share. Scott Taylor.” – @scotttaylorvirginia, Facebook