Another Atlantic County elected official is facing criticism over an inappropriate Facebook post.
Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo, D-Atlantic, recently shared a video captioned “Illegal Immigrants Training for the Trump Wall” that showed men racing up a wall with ladders.
Mazzeo has since deleted the post.
Mazzeo, who is running for state Senate this November, said Wednesday he shared the video by mistake and blamed his poor vision. He said he took it down immediately once he saw he posted it on his personal page.
“I didn’t have my glasses on,” Mazzeo said. “I was scrolling through my news feed. I have very bad vision with my reading, and I did share it, but I noticed that I posted it and I took it down immediately. It certainly is something I didn’t want to share.”
The video post, which originated from a page called “18 Karat Reggae,” had a preview image showing a woman clad in a marijuana leaf-printed dress.
Jorge Restrepo, an Atlantic City native and lifelong Democrat, said he was irritated by the post because the idea paints all Hispanics as illegal immigrants.
“He supposed to represent us,” he said. “It just doesn’t look good.”
The incident comes after Atlantic County Republican Freeholder John Carman took heat for sharing a Facebook post during the Women’s March in Washington D.C.
Carman had posted a meme asking, “Will the woman’s protest be over in time for them to cook dinner?” He initially refused to apologize in the days after, including at a freeholder meeting where he was criticized by 30 people, but later issued a written apology.
“Quite frankly I know the Republicans are going to make a big deal about this, especially in lieu of the Carman incident,” Mazzeo said. “But this is something that I knew I made a mistake and I took it down right away. I’m not going to deny that I shared it. But it certainly is something I knew I made a mistake with and I took it down immediately.”
In a statement, Atlantic County Republicans didn’t criticize Mazzeo for the post, but took aim at his explanation.
“Assemblyman Mazzeo’s excuse that he didn’t have his reading glasses on is about as believable as his phony story that his aide whited out his signature on the resolution to stop North Jersey casinos,” said Atlantic County Republican Committee Chairman Keith Davis. “Even Mr. Magoo had more brains than Mazzeo. Vince Mazzeo lacks the judgment, smarts and maturity to be our senator. He’s in way over his head.”
The Democrats fired back at Republicans, calling the attention to the issue nothing but a smear campaign.
“Who hasn’t clicked on something by mistake when scrolling through their Facebook feed?” Atlantic County Democratic Chairman Mike Suleiman said in a statement. “Once again, the Republican smear machine in Atlantic County is out in full force. They won’t talk about policy so they result to nasty personal insults. No surprise they’re taking a page of out Donald Trump’s playbook.”
Mazzeo was supposed to attend a conference about marijuana in Ocean City hosted by Cape Assist, but didn’t make the meeting, a spokesperson for the event said.