Mississippi Republican Says Trans Rights Supporters Should Face a Firing Squad

Robert Foster tweeted that “groomers” and supporters of trans rights should be executed by firing squad, then doubled down.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Rep. Robert Foster of Hernando addresses the crowd at the Neshoba County Fair in Philadelphia, Miss., Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

A former candidate for Mississippi governor tweeted last week that “groomers” and supporters of trans rights should be executed by firing squad. 

His account has already been reinstated by Twitter. 

On Thursday, Robert Foster suggested—apparently unprompted—that “those who want to groom our children and pretend men are women,” the latter a reference to supporters of transgender rights, should be “lined up against [a] wall before a firing squad and sent to an early judgment.” 


Foster reiterated his call for the state-sanctioned murder of trans rights supporters in a message to the Mississippi Free Press. “The law should be changed so that anyone trying to sexually groom children and/or advocating to put men pretending to be women in locker rooms and bathrooms with young women should receive the death penalty by firing squad,” Foster told the website, declining an interview. 

(Though “grooming” is a real term used to describe adults who build trust with children and their families in order to sexually abuse them, the American right has recently weaponized the term to portray supporters of LGBTQ+ youth as being driven by pedophilia.) 

Foster, a former two-term state representative who received 18 percent of the Republican primary vote in 2019, was the principal author of a 2017 bill allowing Mississippi to execute death row prisoners by firing squad and gas chamber, according to the Mississippi Free Press


Foster’s post was later removed for violating Twitter’s rules, but the ex-lawmaker continued to imply that trans rights supporters should be killed. In response to a tweet from former Mississippi GOP executive director Spencer Ritchie implying Foster was a fascist, Foster castigated Ritchie and other “spineless establishment RINOs” for “conced[ing] every fight with the Communists.” 

“Now the Godless have power and they are destroying our country,” Foster tweeted at Ritchie. “Soon we will have to deal with this directly.” 

That tweet was still up as of Tuesday morning, as was another where Foster said that a firing squad was a “civilized and efficient way of disposing of evil” and cheaper than it would be to “fly them all up high over the Gulf of Mexico and push them out of a helicopter.”

“Transgendered people are merely victims, it’s their pedo groomers that are consumed by evil,” Foster said in another post. 

Foster attempted to backtrack and said he had limited his call for executions to “groomers of children,” though that was a lie. It appears his account was briefly suspended, but by Sunday, he was back on the site. 

Twitter did not respond to a request for comment from VICE News asking for details about Foster’s suspension. 

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, who defeated Foster in that 2019 gubernatorial primary, signed a bill into law last year that made Mississippi one of a dozen states to laws banning transgender girls from playing youth sports with other girls. A similar law passed last year in West Virginia was blocked by a federal judge

After Utah Gov. Spencer Cox vetoed another similar bill last week, citing statistics showing the high rates of attempted suicide among transgender children and the fact that only one transgender girl plays youth sports in Utah. Republican lawmakers overrode his veto Friday while amending the bill for the state to cover legal fees associated with the legislation. 

“I remain hopeful that we will continue to work toward a more inclusive, fair, and compassionate policy during the interim,” Cox said in a statement Friday.

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