ORLANDO, Fla. — On his recent podcast, central Florida political operative Xavier Villacis put up a picture of central Florida Circuit Judge Vincent Chiu featuring Chinese Communist Party leaders Mao Zedong and Xi Jinping on either side of the judge.
Villacis at time of the podcast worked for Judge Chiu’s opponent Aldo Bartolone as a consultant.
Bartolone has since terminated Villacis from his campaign, while seeking to distance himself from the picture, saying that the picture was not part of his campaign.
“Whatever that image or show was, was not done as part of a campaign consultant for me,” said Bartolone on Monday during a candidate forum.
Bartolone’s campaign was contacted by Eyewitness News on Tuesday for additional comment but declined.
“These attacks are nothing new to people of color and speak to how much work remains to be done in our society,” said Judge Chiu in a statement. “But the way our community stands together against these attacks speaks to how far we have come.”
For his part Villacis defends the picture, saying he’d post it again.
“The link of the picture is the Democrat Party, and the Communist Chinese” says Villacis referencing that the Orange County Democrats in the voter guide recommended voting for Judge Chiu in the non-partisan race.
“My intentions were never to offend anyone, it is basically that the Democrat Party has ties with the Chinese government,” said Villacis referencing President Joe Biden’s son Hunter and an investment company Hunter was a part of that did business in China.
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