he North Dakota GOP has slammed legislative candidate Matthew Ruby for racist and dumb posts on his Facebook, but stopped short of telling him to quit his race.
Matt, 24ish years old, is running for state House of Representatives in Minot’s District 40. Less than a month before election day, he’s facing his first public relations crisis.
Earlier today, Mean Read published screenshots from Matt’s private Facebook page that showed him bragging about driving drunk, receiving a racist Obama-as-chimpanzee meme from his wife, and expressing interest in firing a gun while drinking alcohol.
You can see that story here — it’s important reading before you digest the excuses Matt and his dad, a legislator himself, came up with.
First we hear from Matt’s dad Dan Ruby, who represents an area west of Minot known as District 38.
“Matt uses Facebook as a place to make jokes and references about actions that he thinks are dumb,” Dan emails Mean Read. “He does not drink and drive nor drink and hunt. My kids grew up hunting with me and that was always a strict rule. Guns and alcohol don’t mix. Matt is also extremely careful about not drinking and driving and mentioned to me a while ago, that as a member of the National Guard, he would be jeopardizing his ability to serve.”
So when Matt posted, “I’m such a good drunk driver,” at 3:12 a.m. in the morning, that was just an attempt at late night humor? Hmm…
This evening, Mean Read’s post was picked up by the right-wing Say Anything Blog, who got some comment from Matt himself.
Matt says he doesn’t “even remember” the drunk-driving post. “I would never have posted something that dumb,” says Matt, even though he did. “I’m not a drunk driver. I’ve never driven drunk. I don’t want to say I never posted it, but I don’t remember it.”
It would be very easy for Matt to hop on Facebook and scroll back to when he made the post, but I’m sure he’d rather continue not-remembering it.
As for the racist meme, Matt and his Dan both say it’s just one of those things that’s “circulating around.”
The meme depicts Ronald Reagan holding a chimpanzee, with this caption: “Rare photo of Ronald Reagan babysitting Barack Obama in early 1962.” Matt’s wife, Dana, shared the meme with him in 2014 along with the note, “Hahaa. I thought you’d like this!”
“That picture circulated around for some time and probably still is,” Dan writes. “Matt serves with people of all races in the military and wrestled with minorities at Minot State. I think you would find that nobody he wrestled with or serves with him would consider him racist in any way.”
I think Matt is still wrestling with the concept of a minority in the White House.
“I don’t know how I’m getting judged for something that was shared by someone else,” says Matt, who by “someone else” is referring to his own wife. “It was one of those things that has been shared all over.”
Matt also claims he has never shot guns under the influence of alcohol.
Oh, also, when Matt called a police officer a “dick”, he was just saying that the officer was “thorough” and “good at his job.”
The North Dakota Republican Party weighed in, with executive director Roz Leighton expressing disappointment in Matt for the racism and the stupidity, but not telling him to drop out.
“The meme is inappropriate, offensive and inexcusable, there is no place for racism on anyone’s Facebook page, let alone one of our candidate’s,” she tells Say Anything Blog.
“As for the drunk driving post, if we’re going to hold every candidate accountable for what they posted on their social media pages in their late teens, or early twenties we’re going to have a hard time finding qualified candidates,” she says. “It was dumb that he posted it, and dumb if he did it.”
We’ve emailed Roz asking if she thinks he should drop out, but we haven’t heard back. Dan says son Matt should stay in the race.
Heidi Rintoul is the Democrat running against Matt in District 40. We asked her for comment, and she declined to dig the knife in.
“I am aware of the content on his Facebook and find it very alarming,” she tells us. “I will let the comments and information from his Facebook speak for itself.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: Dan Ruby asked that his statement on his son be printed in full. We see no problem with that. Here it is:
“Matt uses Facebook as a place to make jokes and references about actions that he thinks are dumb. He does not drink and drive nor drink and hunt. My kids grew up hunting with me and that was always a strict rule. Guns and alcohol don’t mix. Matt is also extremely careful about not drinking and driving and mentioned to me a while ago, that as a member of the National Guard, he would be jeopardizing his ability to serve. Serving his country and state is something he loves doing. Matt has never been in trouble with alcohol. I’m not sure of the context that he made the remarks on Facebook but I’m certain they weren’t comments on actual activities he did. None of my ten children have any arrests or issues with alcohol related violations. As for racist pictures, that picture circulated around for some time and probably still is. I hope I don’t get judged by what someone else sends to me. It might have been worth mentioning if he sent it to others. Matt serves with people of all races in the military and wrestled with minorities at Minot State. I think you would find that nobody he wrestled with or serves with him would consider him racist in any way. Matt is a family man who loves spending time with his wife and children and he is a great role-model for them.”