A former Pennsylvania Republican congressional candidate sparked a social media mystery as well as allegations that he was impersonating a Black man online following a viral tweet on Tuesday.
Dean Browning, a former Lehigh County Commissioner who lost in the 2020 primary election for a U.S. House of Representatives seat, wrote the tweet Tuesday in response to a twitter user who had criticized President Donald Trump.
“I’m a black gay guy and I can personally say that Obama did nothing for me,” Browning tweeted, according to screengrabs posted online and media reports. “My life only changed a little bit and it was for the worse. Everything is so much better under Trump though. I feel respected — which I never do when democrats are involved.”
Browning’s tweet caused confusion as well as accusations that Browning, who is white, was trying to impersonate a Black person online but forgot to log into a burner account.
Browning deleted his tweet and later tweeted a response. That response acknowledged the original tweet, but claimed Browning was quoting a message he received earlier in the week from a follower.
Browning caused even further confusion in another follow-up tweet in which he claimed a man named “Dan Purdy” was responding to the controversy.
The tweet he claimed was from “Dan Purdy” was from a suspended account, however. The Philadelphia Inquirer tracked the Purdy account to William Holte, a nephew of Philly soul legend Patti LaBelle.
Holte, in a series of text messages reported by the Inquirer, said the suspension was due to his support for Trump and that this was the second Twitter account he has had suspended.
NBC10 reached out to Browning for a response. We have not yet heard back from him.