Republican lawmaker who ranted about f****ts defends his conduct after winning re-election
A Republican lawmaker who won re-election despite making shockingly homophobic comments has sought to defend his conduct.
John Mandt Jr had initially resigned from the Virginia House of Delegates in October after his profane outbursts in a private Facebook group chat surfaced. In the messages, Mandt disparaged “sponsors of a queer bill” in reference to an anti-discrimination measure, and wrote: “Silly faggots, dicks are for chicks!”
Despite Mandt’s remarks, his resignation, and his unofficial withdrawal from the race, voters in West Virginia’s 16th district opted to narrowly re-elect him on 3 November by a wafer-thin margin of 71 votes.
Mandt claimed 7,359 votes to win the last of three seats in the multi-member district, narrowly pipping his Republican colleague Mark Bates.
Re-elected Republican lawmaker John Mandt says criticism is ‘slander’
The lawmaker, who is now set to take office once again, sought to defend his conduct in a Facebook post on Monday (14 December).
In the post reported by local outlet WOWK, Mandt wrote: “I need to speak. Things have been printed of what I’ve supposedly posted in a private chat.
“Honestly, I did use a gay slur in my answer to what was written on a t-shirt. I don’t use gay slurs, but I did in answering a question.”
He added: “I had no idea this would be posted on social media to hurt people… I would NEVER say anything to hurt anyone. You all know me.
“This is the ugliness of politics. I’m human. I’m just as you are and I’m here to represent you.”
Mandt vowed to continue serving, writing: “Thank you for re-electing me to continue serving you! I didn’t ask for the slander, but I’ve quickly found out it comes with the position.
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“I won’t back down now bc, unfortunately, my character has been put through the wringer. So why stop representing you?
“YOU KNOW I’m here for you and I’m elected to represent what you feel is right I can sustain the hits for you! Keep me on the front line. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else!!!”
Hateful comments were not a one-off
Despite his claims, Mandt’s outbursts were far from an isolated incident or an innocent answer to the question.
Across multiple messages, he suggest another Republican might be bisexual because “he can be a little feminine” and that a third member of his party was a “hostage to the left” because he was afraid they would “expose his homosexuality”.
The Republican lawmaker, who is also a wealthy local hot dog entrepreneur, has previously publicly referred to LGBT+ people as “the alphabet hate group” and made disparaging remarks about Muslims.