With only days left before the citizens of Chicago head to the polls to elect their next mayor, the man widely seen as the frontrunner is facing another scandal for liking a series of derogatory tweets.
A review of Paul Vallas’ Twitter page conducted by the Chicago grandstand found the Democrat liked tweets that used racist language, supported controversial police tactics like “stop-and-frisk,” or insulted incumbent mayor Lori Lightfoot on personal terms.
Some tweets referenced Lightfoot, a lesbian and the city’s first openly LGBTQ mayor, “Larry,” calling her a leprechaun and even poking fun at her receding hairline.
Several of the tweets were made prior to the 69-year-old Vallas announcing last summer that he was running for mayor again after losing his 2019 bid.
He told the Tribune that many people in his campaign have accessed his Twitter account and that he was working to identify who might have liked the controversial tweets. But Vallas told later CBS news he thought his account had been hacked.
The Twitter account of Chicago Mayor Paul Vallas’ predecessor Paul Vallas has gained a lot of interest in a series of derogatory tweets in recent years. He is pictured here campaigning earlier this month
Many of the tweets his account liked portrayed Chicago as a crime-ridden disaster zone, according to the Tribune.
In December 2021, it reports, Vallas liked a tweet: “The Mag Mile will soon be Dystopian Way, similar to a road from a Mad Max movie. Made desolate by the utter indifference of the awakened Ald. Reilly and Rep. Quigley and the leprechaun on the fifth floor.”
Several also bemoaned Democratic politicians, including Illinois Governor JB Pritzker, for his handling of crime and the pandemic, Attorney General Kim Foxx’s prosecuting decisions, and critical tweets about Cook County Board Chairman Toni Preckwinkle.
At least of the tweets refer to Lightfoot as “Larry.”
“I bet Larry Lightfoot is with his family today,” read a tweet last June, in response to Vallas shouting at police officers and other first responders on Father’s Day.
Others mocked Lightfoot for her physical appearance, with a tweet from November 2021 stating, “Confidence is compromised, as is her hairline!” in response to a post Vallas posted about how Lightfoot presented crime statistics.
Around the same time, Vallas also reportedly liked a tweet saying that Lightfoot is “beyond human!”
“The hatred she has for the police is so abhorrent,” one Twitter user wrote. “How do her bodyguards tolerate her?”
And the following month, Vallas’ account also liked a tweet that Lightfoot called “the leprechaun on the fifth floor.”
Some of the tweets his account has liked call Mayor Lori Lightfoot “Larry” or a “leprechaun.” and laugh at her appearance. Lightfoot speaks to supporters here on Saturday
Another tweet liked by Vallas’ account insinuated Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown (pictured in December) was a diversity hire
Other tweets that Vallas would have liked over the years also criticized Lightfoot and other Democrats in the city for playing identity politics — going so far as to call Lightfoot a “racist” — while denouncing the controversial “stop-and-go” police tactic. -frisk’ supported. .’
In a June 2022 tweet liked by Vallas’ account, one user told him, “Just don’t push that Democratic agenda that the citizens of Chicago are tired of hearing.” You know, defund this, reform that, color this, feminine that. We just want someone to do the work.’
Vallas also liked a tweet in April 2022 insinuating that Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown had taken a diversity job and called the mayor a racist.
“He was hired for one reason, and one reason only. He was black,” the tweet read. ‘Other candidates were better qualified, but not black.
“Lightfoot is a racist, big news flash.”
Then, after Chicago Police Chief Brendan Deenihan announced he was leaving the department, Vallas’ account liked a recent tweet saying Deenihan “sees the writing on the wall, as a white male his ascension on CPD is limited .
‘Identity over competence.’
And multiple tweets praised “stop-and-frisk,” a police tactic that allows forcible searches based on “reasonable suspicion.”
The practice has become deeply unpopular across the country amid allegations of racial profiling and complaints filed by the Chicago Police Department with the American Civil Liberties Inion of Illinois and in lawsuits.
“NYC became the safest city in the US thanks to stop, question and frisk and Broken Windows,” one user wrote, referring to a hard-on-crime approach.
“Bring in Bill Bratton who changed NYC in six months,” the user wrote, referring to a former New York City police chief who praised the practices. “Learn from history.”
Vallas never responded to another user who asked him in June if he supports stop-and-frisk, but the Tribune reports that his account liked the tweet.
In a statement to the Tribune, Vallas said he does not “personally manage” the account and was “appalled when this was brought to my attention because this kind of abhorrent and mean rhetoric does not represent me or my views.”
“While I had nothing to do with liking these posts, our campaign takes responsibility and apologizes, and we want it to be clear that we have already taken immediate steps to limit access to the account to prevent something like that happens again,” he said. said.
“We are working to identify who is responsible for liking these tweets as many volunteers have accessed the account over the years, including some who are no longer with the campaign, and will take immediate action to remove them from our campaign if they are still involved.’
But he later told CBS News, “It’s clear we’ve been hacked, and in fact they’re still trying to hack us, even though we’ve shut down our system and changed our password.”
In response, Lightfoot tweeted a meme of a man pointing at his reflection in a mirror with the caption, “Paul Vallas is figuring out who hacked his Twitter account.”
All tweets have since been removed from his profile, which now reads “@PaulVallas has not liked any tweet.”
All tweets have been removed from Vallas’ profile, which now shows that he didn’t like any of the tweets
This is just the latest scandal to befall the Democratic frontrunner operating on a platform of law and order in the crime-ridden Windy City and has received widespread support from conservatives despite saying he is a “lifelong Democrat.”
Vallas has previously faced criticism from Lightfoot and others who accused him of using a racist dog whistle by saying his campaign is about “taking back our city,” but his campaign has denied that the message has anything to do with race.
He also came under fire last summer for attending an event for Awake Illinois, a suburban group that Governor Pritzker called a “trimmer.”
Vallas later said his attendance was a mistake, but the organization recently posted an excerpt from the March 2021 meeting saying that the president, Shannon Adcock, might have to run for governor.
More recently, Vallas has faced an endorsement from the Fraternal Order of Police, which is led in Chicago by an outspoken Trump supporter.
Initially, the Tribune reports, Vallas evaded questions about the union’s conservative leanings.
But he strengthened in recent weeks, saying the FOP “disappointed” him by agreeing to attend a speech by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who described Vallas as a “right-wing extremist.”
In response to a claim that Vallas’ account had been hacked, Lightfoot tweeted a meme in which a man pointed to his reflection in a mirror, captioning it: ‘Paul Vallas is figuring out who hacked his Twitter account’
He must now maintain his lead in Tuesday’s election as some Chicago residents choose to vote by mail.
a recent survey from M3 Strategies shows Vallas leading the race at 32 percent, followed by forward Brandeon Johnson at 18 percent and Lightfoot in third at 13.6 percent.
But the election is likely to lead to a second round, NBC Chicago reports, as none of the candidates is expected to receive more than 50 percent of the vote.
And “as long as both the African American and Latino communities can unite around another candidate, they would get enough white votes that Vallas wouldn’t have a path to victory,” said Dick Simpson, a former city councilman and professor emeritus at the University of Illinois Chicago, told CBS News.
The professor has publicly endorsed Lightfoot for re-election.