Virginia State Senator Richard Black, who is perhaps best known to Gawker readers as a guy who melted down at a teacher over fictional depictions of sex and violence, recently met and shook hands with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is best known the world over for unrepentantly slaughtering thousands of his own people. Black said after the summit that he was “very proud to meet his excellency, the president.”
Black recently sent a strongly-worded letter to a high school teacher who had criticized his support for a law that would make it more difficult to assign students books with explicit content, such as Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer-winning masterpiece Beloved. “I was surprised by your personal advocacy of the book Beloved,” Black wrote. “That book is so vile - - so profoundly filthy - - that when a Senator rose on the Senate Floor and began reading a single passage, several other Senators leapt to their feet to interrupt the reading.”
The state senator’s bad opinions aren’t limited to literature. He’s an arch-conservative who has argued that spousal rape should be legal and abortion, sodomy, and the morning-after pill should be outlawed. He’s also a longtime Assad supporter. In 2014, Black sent a letter to the Syrian president, praising “the Syrian Arab Army for its heroic rescue of Christians in the Qalamoun Mountain Range.”
Assad has promised to protect Syrian Christians from ISIS and other Islamist extremists, a move that has earned him some support from members of the faith in his country and in the U.S. But that hasn’t stopped his regime from killing Christians itself, as an anonymous White House official who spoke to the Washington Post about the meeting Black-Assad meeting pointed out.
On the same day that Dick Black met his hero, there was an airstrike on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Aleppo, for which the U.S. State Department has said the Assad regime was “solely responsible.” At least 27 patients and hospital workers were killed in the blasts.