VIERA, Fla. (FOX 35 ORLANDO) - A war of words. Two public figures in Brevard County are making national headlines over a string of Facebook comments.
It's tense. There's some teasing. Is it hate speech? Brevard County Commissioner Bryan Lober is an outspoken Republican who says he believes in protecting free speech. Stacey Patel heads up the Brevard Democratic Party. The two have disagreed before, but now things are at a whole new level.
This week the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) says Lober has gone too far, calling on the commissioner to apologize for and retract comments on Facebook. The ADL calls the content "deplorable and could be taken as a call to violence."
In the Facebook thread about the bus, Lober chimed in, posted about Patel personally, with this:
"I'm not typically a big abortion proponent but in Patel's case I might just be willing to look the other way as I can only imagine what a scourge on humanity and on our economy her offspring would prove to be, given that her litter would likely be raised with an entitlement mentality, zero work ethic and taught the hypocritically racist and sexist position that the white man is evil, unfortunately those least capable of properly raising children typically procreate without a second thought and society is left dealing with the repercussions."
Lober posted a comment about a snow plow in a conversation about President Trump's big rally in Orlando.
Some readers and the ADL say that's a reference to running people over with a vehicle -- like the Charlottesville car attack in 2017, when a suspect drove into a crowd, killing one and injuring 28 others. The vehicle involved was a Dodge. The comment that Lober responded to was in reference to a Dodge.
"My understanding of a Dodge Charger -- the only thing that I think of in that sense -- is police presence," Lober said Thursday.
As for the snow plow remark, Lober says it was sarcasm, referencing an incident in Massachusetts.
"There was a snow truck driver that drove by a group of Trump protesters and allegedly sprayed slush on them," Lober said.
Patel has been critical of Lober in the past over his comments and his tone. She was involved in organizing a bus trip to Orlando, so the Democrats could hold an Anti-Trump rally. On the Facebook thread about the bus, Lober chimed-in, posting about Patel personally, saying she should have an abortion if she ever became pregnant, because her children would be a harm and burden in society with an entitled and racist attitude.
"I have been going for months to the commission, because he has called other members of the community ‘rodents,' because he threatened to retaliate against free speech of another individual in our community. And the silence of our local Republicans and commissioners is deafening," Patel said. "I share the ADL's concerns that a public official would subtly green light violence."
The News Station asked Lober if he would like to apologize for his Facebook posts.
"I should've worded it differently. I will tell you, if it were any other individual who weren't patently racist and sexist, I would probably apologize for the statement, but I don't know that I can apologize for something that I put up at the time -- based upon the racist and sexist comments from that individual," Lober said.