The press secretary for the Republican candidate for governor of Rhode Island has resigned after tweets that insulted women and people of color were dug up by activists and publicized by the Democratic Governors Association.
Andrew Augustus, communications adviser for gubernatorial hopeful and Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, called women “bitches” and “whores” and mocked black and Asian people while he was a student at Rhode Island College from 2011 to 2014.
Lindsay Crudele, a digital communications strategist who was raised in Cranston and whose family still lives there, came across some of Augustus’ tweets and thought it was important for state voters to be aware of them. So she took several screenshots and shared them with her followers.
“Andrew is a key staffer on Mayor Fung’s campaign, and it’s been impossible to get any answers from them about life-or-death policy issues,” Crudele told HuffPost. Her mother suffers from multiple sclerosis and Crudele has been blocked by Fung on Twitter for asking about his stance on the Affordable Care Act.
“You can imagine how it feels for me to realize that I have been posing serious policy questions to a team whose spokesperson publicly joked about ‘No Fat Chicks’ and made other dehumanizing remarks,” she said.
Before joining Fung’s campaign, Augustus was an intern and later a reporter at WPRO, a local Rhode Island radio station.
The Democratic Governors Association has called on Fung to address Augustus’ role in his campaign.
“Either Mayor Fung embraces his staffer’s sexist and racist world view, or he failed to do even basic due diligence before hiring him for a key campaign role,” said association press secretary Melissa Miller in a statement to HuffPost.
“Either way, Augustus’s tweets are disgusting and unacceptable,” Miller said, “and Mayor Fung must immediately explain why he would hire someone who has exhibited such poor judgment.”
Augustus announced that he would be resigning from his post on Fung’s campaign on Tuesday night, after the story’s publication.
I deeply regret the tweets I made in college. They are not reflective of who I am and I am wholeheartedly sorry to anyone they may have offended. Dialogue like that is not appropriate in any type of environment and should never be tolerated. I have resigned from my position
— Andrew Augustus (@AndrewAugustus) October 31, 2018
Fung accepted the resignation, according to his campaign manager Andrew Vargas Vila.
“Upon hire, an inspection of his social media account was conducted, but obviously not six or seven years back,” he said. “While Andrew is a different person now, and is extremely embarrassed by this, he does not want to reflect poorly on the mayor or distract from any part of this campaign.”
The news of Augustus’s tweets comes just days after members of the Rhode Island Democratic Party’s Women’s Caucus criticized Fung for his association with conservative radio personality John DePetro. The former host of a WPRO radio show with a long history of disparaging women, DePetro had announced on Twitter that he would emcee a “Women for Fung” rally. On Monday, DePetro clarified that he would not be the emcee and that he was just supporting the event.
Fung, who has been mayor of Cranston since 2009, is running for governor against Democratic incumbent Gina Raimondo, who has consistently held the lead in the polls. Fung also ran against Raimondo in 2014.