September 8, 2016

Trump and the Role of Social Media

The Los Angeles Times recently published an article revealing several paid staffers on the Donald Trump campaign to have deeply inappropriate, racist content on their social media profiles, including posts that said “Muslims are unfit to be U.S. citizens, ridiculed Mexican accents, called for Secretary of State John F. Kerry to be hanged and stated their readiness for a possible civil war.”

This has ramifications on a political level, coming at a time where Donald Trump is seeking to broaden his appeal among minority voters and soften his status on illegal immigration in the lead-up to the election in November. Major offenders included Craig Bachler, one of Trump’s most senior staffers in Florida, and Mark Lloyd, Trump’s Virginia field director.

This controversy also raises the importance of vetting employees’ social media, and shows just how much one’s public profile says about their views, opinions, and image. It’s fair to say that any reasonable employer would never hire someone if they had known this information prior to these revelations; despite its notoriously inflammatory rhetoric, we should have this bare-minimum expectation for Mr. Trump’s campaign as well.

For the record, the Associated Press, which conducted the research of a number of Trump staffers’ profiles, also reviewed more than 3 dozen employees of Hillary Clinton and found nothing incriminating or inflammatory.

We used our software to run reports on Mr. Bachler and Mr. Lloyd, and between them we found dozens of “bad news” and red flags (nearly 40 pages all together) all culled from public information online; be it bigoted Facebook posts (with sexist, racist language and pictures), offensive tweets, and more. Any employer looking to run a cursory review of their potential employees would see this information and be unlikely to hire these men. Given the volatile nature of political campaigns, where an electorate and news cycle hangs on every word of candidates and controversy is brought to boil every moment, one would think there would be an even bigger premium on proper, basic vetting of staffers.

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