Dean Browning had some explaining to do.
The Republican former Lehigh County commissioner, who lost a congressional primary this year, bills himself on Twitter as “a proud pro-life & pro-2A Christian conservative dedicated to enacting common sense solutions to Keep America Great.”
So it came as something of a surprise when he tweeted this message Tuesday morning:
“I’m a black gay guy and I can personally say that Obama did nothing for me, 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.”
Social media had a field day.
Several people suggested Browning accidentally posted the message from his real Twitter account, thinking he was logged on to a “burner” account — a fake persona tactic some people use to pretend to be others.
There were suspicions that Browning’s tweet sounded similar to the thoughts of another Twitter account, whose owner identified himself as a gay Black man and Trump fan.
The owner of that account, under the name Dan Purdy, posted a video, insisting that he was a real person and that Browning’s tweet was a message Purdy had sent to Browning.
“Dean accidentally posted somehow and that’s the end of the story," Purdy said in the video.
Twitter then suspended the The Purdy account, which is owned by William Holte, a nephew to famed Philly singer Patti LaBelle. Holte, in a series of text messages with Clout, claimed the suspension was due to his support for Trump. He acknowledged this is the second Twitter account he has had suspended.
Browning, who did not respond to a request for comment, went viral in a way politicians dread. Twitter ranked him at No. 2 on its list of trending topics.
The original tweet was deleted. Browning addressed that in a follow-up tweet more than five hours later, claiming he was “quoting a message that I received earlier this week from a follower. Sorry if the context was not clear.”
Social media was unconvinced.
It was swiftly noted that Browning’s original tweet contained no context.
“Former Lehigh County commissioner Dean Browning has apparently lived quite a life,” tweeted news producer James Santelli of the Pittsburgh station KDKA.
Others were more pointed.
-Staff Writer Allison Steele contributed to this report.