Mike Cargile, an Army veteran and filmmaker running against Rep. Norma Torres, D-Pomona, for the 35th Congressional District seat representing Chino, Fontana, Montclair, Ontario and Pomona, doesn’t deny the allegations, but says they were taken out of context.
His use of the racial epithet targeting Black people in a 2018 Facebook conversation about allowing transgender people to serve in the military is similar to how he’s used it in films he’s written, Cargile said.
“I have written the N-word in dialogue for characters many, many times, just like Quentin Tarantino has written the N-word for character dialogue,” Cargile said. “I’ve had a discussion where the N-word seems to dominate the whole song. So if I’m going to accurately portray a Black artist, then I need to portray that.”
In the case of the Facebook post, he argued that if a soldier could identify themself by a different gender than the one assigned at birth, then he could identify as a Black person. He then sketched out a scene that included his Black persona using the word and another character saying, “Quit blaming white folks for your problems.”
Asked if that was his position, as well, Cargile said in an interview: “The point of that conversation was responsibility. Take responsibility for yourself. I think everybody should be responsible for themselves.”
Cargile has also shared memes stating “2 illegal aliens having an anchor baby does not produce an American” and suggested that LGBTQ people are leading to the end of days.
While the Fourteenth Amendment states explicitly that “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States,” Cargile described that as a loophole that should be closed.
“It’s not right for a Chinese national who’s pregnant to fly into the United States, have her baby here, and she flies back home, and now her child has all the rights of an American citizen,” he said.
He didn’t mean it in the context of Latinos who have lived their whole life in the United States but whose parents aren’t citizens, he said, adding that he has a plan that includes a path to citizenship for those living in the country illegally.
He believes that gay people should have the legal right to marry, but adds, “Don’t make me say, ‘I like your choice.’”
Torres, who has represented the area since 2015, said she doesn’t buy Cargile’s explanations.
“Frankly, I’m scared for my community, to have learned that someone with those types of beliefs and values is living among us,” she said.
Cargile has also spread conspiracy theories of QAnon, which has no factual basis. Referring to the definition on Wikipedia of it as “a far-right conspiracy theory alleging that a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles is running a global child sex-trafficking ring and plotting against US President Donald Trump, who is battling against the cabal,” he said he disagreed only that it was a conspiracy theory.
“For me, the issue of QAanon has coalesced around the single issue of human and child trafficking,” he said. “And so I will support any group or institution that opposes human and child trafficking. My question is why doesn’t everyone?”
Torres said that she and many — including law enforcement — have long fought against human and child trafficking and continue to denounce it, but they’ve done it without accusing people without evidence.
As mayor of Pomona, Torres said she fought to limit the influx of registered sex offenders coming to the city. A 5-year-old who saw news coverage of her ordinance to keep sex offenders farther from playgrounds and other gathering places came to her office, shared a chilling story of his own experiences and gave her a painting he had made in therapy, she said.
“I still have that in my office in DC,” she said. “I denounce (sex trafficking) 100%, but QAnon’s conspiracies … caused someone to drive across state lines and (try to) commit murder.”Torres referred to “Pizzagate,” a conspiracy that a pizza parlor in Washington, D.C., was using its basement for child trafficking. Despite no real evidence — the location didn’t even have a basement — the accusation spread widely online during the 2016 election, leading to death threats and one person driving to the pizza parlor and opening fire.
Cargile said he didn’t support violence, but thinks it’s important to ask questions, and he said that, if elected, he will lead investigations into theories promoted by QAnon.