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Gabrielle Settles
By Gabrielle Settles April 12, 2022

Racist Facebook post is real, but it was not made by the chairman of Virginia’s Republican Party

If Your Time is short

  • The racist Facebook post about two Black military leaders, including Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, was made by the chairman of the Electoral Board in Hampton, Virginia — not the chairman of Virginia’s Republican Party. 

  • The chairman of the Electoral Board, David Dietrich, resigned his position on April 9.

A Virginia politician resigned days after news surfaced that he wrote a racist Facebook post about two Black military leaders, including U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

But a tweet from liberal Facebook page Occupied Democrats criticized the wrong person as being the post’s author.

"BREAKING: Virginia Republican Party Chairman makes a shockingly racist Facebook post calling President Biden’s Black Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin a ‘dirty, stinking n-----,’ calls for a ‘civil war.’ He’s refusing to step down over his post," Occupy Democrats tweeted

A Twitter user saw the tweet and asked us if it was true.

The person who made the statements was a local official, not someone in a statewide leadership position. Occupy Democrats later sent a corrected tweet.

The real author of the post was David Dietrich, who is not the chairman of Virginia’s GOP. Rather, he’s the chairman of the Hampton Electoral Board in Virginia. Dietrich led the three-member board, which oversees elections in Hampton’s city of over 137,000 residents. Hampton is located in the southeastern part of Virginia, near the city of Norfolk. 

Dietrich made the post in February 2021. Under the headline "Military Purge," Deitrich lashed out at Austin’s appointment as defense secretary, saying that Austin was "standing down the military to ferret out ‘white nationalists’" in order to "remove conservative, freedom-loving Americans from the roles."

He also bashed retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honoré, whom House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tasked with leading a review of security at the Capitol following the Jan. 6 insurrection.

"To listen to this guy, you would think he was a Black Nationalist," Dietrich wrote. 

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Dietrich went on to call the two military leaders "nothing more than dirty, stinking n------" and said, "Perhaps the best way to pull us back from the brink is a good public lynching." 

A local Virginia TV station, WAVY-TV, was the first to break the story on April 8, 2022. It reported that Dietrich’s comments came to light after the Republican Party of Hampton released them in a statement. The party said it was made aware of Dietrich’s post the week before. It condemned Dietrich’s comments as "abhorrent and unacceptable" and called for him to resign, as did Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a Republican. 

"The abhorrent words of a Hampton Roads official are beyond unacceptable and have no place in Virginia," Youngkin wrote. "It’s time to resign."

After initially refusing to do so, Dietrich resigned on April 9.

The official who was wrongly identified as the speaker of the racist claims is Virginia GOP chairman Richard Anderson. The Virginia GOP Twitter account replied to Occupy Democrats on April 8, writing that the group was "spreading misinformation."

"We have demanded his resignation and asked the circuit court to remove him," the Virginia GOP tweet said.

Occupy Democrats issued a correction of its tweet on April 11. However, by then several Facebook users had copied and shared the uncorrected text of the original claim. 

Our ruling

A tweet from Occupy Democrats pointed to the chairman of Virginia’s Republican Party as the one who authored a racist post about Austin and Honoré.

The racist post was real, but it was made by the chairman of the Electoral Board in Hampton, Virginia, not the state’s GOP. 

We rate this claim False.

UPDATE, April 12 at 5p.m.: We updated this fact-check shortly after publication with a tweet addressing the Occupy Democrats claim from the Virginia GOP.

Our Sources

Occupy Democrats, Twitter post, April 8, 2022

Twitter post, April 8, 2022

Hampton, Virginia, Hampton’s Electoral Board, accessed April 11, 2022

Facebook post, April 8, 2022

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, Pelosi Announces Lt. General Russel Honoré (Ret.) Will Lead Immediate Review of Capitol Security, Jan. 15, 2021

WAVY-TV, Chair of Hampton Electoral Board accused of racist post resigns, updated April 11, 2022

Facebook, Republican Party of Hampton (VA), April 8, 2022

Virginia Gov. Glen Youngkin, Twitter post, April 9, 2022

ABC News, Virginia GOP official accused of racist online post resigns, April 11, 2022

Occupy Democrats Twitter post, April 11, 2022

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More by Gabrielle Settles

Racist Facebook post is real, but it was not made by the chairman of Virginia’s Republican Party

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