A former Florida lawmaker who met with Donald Trump about a possible Cabinet position has deleted a Facebook post suggesting the President-elect had chosen James “Mad Dog” Mattis as his Defence Secretary in order to “exterminate” Muslims.
A meme appeared on the Facebook page of Allen West, a retired Lieutenant Colonel and ex-member of the House of Representatives, showing a picture of General Mattis with a message that also criticised Barack Obama for an earlier decision to remove the general from his post "to please the Muslims”.
The political commentator denied posting the image and a member of his staff, Michele Hickford, has since taken responsibility, saying she was “deeply sorry for the distress”.
“On Friday night, without Allen West’s knowledge or consent, a meme was posted to this Facebook page which was reprehensible in its message,” Ms Hickford said in an apology posted on Mr West’s Facebook page.
“As editor in chief [of Mr West's personal news website], I must take full responsibility for this, although I was not the one who posted it, and it was posted without my knowledge. I neither condone nor support the message included in the meme.
“This meme was not created by me or any of our writers. It was reposted from another source. The image has been removed. Its message was despicable, offensive to many, and a terrible error in judgement by the person who posted it. Furthermore, it does not reflect Col. West's beliefs, principles and values,” Ms Hickford added.
The post was viewed at least 10,000 times before it was taken down, according to BuzzFeed.
The top comments it attracted said the meme had gone “too far” and called on Colonel West’s team to give a fuller explanation as to why the image was posted.
West visited Trump Tower in November to meet with members of the President-elect’s transition team.
“We talked about some national security issues, and you know how maybe I can continue to serve my country,” Colonel West told the Texas Tribune.
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