Election 2020

Philly Republicans: We’re not running that verified Parler account

The local party, which has not held back on Twitter, denied involvement with posts on the right-wing “free speech” platform.

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The Philadelphia GOP is distancing itself from its verified account handle on a right-wing social media site, where recent posts from the @PhillyRepublican account have called for “going to war” with Democrats over the election results.

With the city thrust center stage into the 2020 presidential election, the local party has been noticeably more vocal than usual on several social media channels. That includes Twitter, where tweets come from @PhillyGOP, and on Parler, a growing alternative platform to which many conservative and far right users have flocked.

“We must go to war,” reads one Parler post from early this week, echoing an election week call to arms from right-wing commentator Harlan Hill.

“The Democrats are trying to seize power,” the post continues. “They have cheated and stolen power from the people. Democrats have committed treason against us. We must hold them accountable. We must gear up and fight.”

The Parler account, which launched in June and has over 800 followers, has also called on the far-right group the Proud Boys to “mobilize” for a fight against Black Lives Matter and Antifa.

The handle also bears a verification badge from the platform and deploys the same Philly GOP logo as the party’s Twitter and Facebook pages. In its disclaimer on verified users, the company notes the badge does “not necessarily confirm a user is who they claim to be, just that they are Real Users.”

The app, which puts few restrictions on what users can post, has more than doubled its number of users in recent weeks.

As content goes, the posts are not all that far from some of the tweets that surfaced on the party’s Twitter account — where the party has circulated widely discredited claims of election fraud and other inflammatory rhetoric.

“This election reminds of the time security cameras suddenly stopped working on the night Jeffrey Epstein ‘killed himself,'” Philly GOP tweeted earlier this week.

But the Parler account is not actually sanctioned, according to state Rep. Martina White, who took the reins as leader of the Philadelphia Republican City Committee last year. She unequivocally denied the party had any involvement.

Another Parler post directly took issue with leadership and invited radical change. “Majority of this GOP is weak and ineffective…WE. MUST. FORM. A. NEW. PARTY.”

In Philadelphia, where Democrats outnumber them 7 to 1 in voter registration, Republicans have not wielded strong local influence in decades. There have been power struggles and  infighting over candidate selection for years. In the most recent municipal election, the GOP lost one of two City Council seats reserved for non-majority lawmakers to a member of the Working Families Party.

White, a 32-year-old whose selection as chair last winter was not unanimous, is considered a rising star and the city committee’s best hope at progress.

Unlike the Parler account, the Twitter account is official, according to Al Eisenberg, an advisor. He would not reveal who specifically is running it, but said that “we coordinated some items with the national campaign.”

Added Eisenberg: “Our Facebook is very chill.”

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