Rafael Rafidi: Pro-Trumper who once bashed teachers now on Lousiana school board

Rafael Rafidi an alleged Capitol insurrectionist with a history of violent social media posts was sworn into school board, teachers slammed the irony


                            Rafael Rafidi: Pro-Trumper who once bashed teachers now on Lousiana school board
Rafael Rafidi being sworn into the Jefferson Parish School board. (Jefferson Parish Schools via Nola.com)

"I actually watched this guy take an oath to the Constitution, the very Constitution that he tried to overthrow just a year ago—the irony of it." That's how one teacher summed up the situation one alleged Capitol rioter currently is in. According to reports, Rafael Rafidi, a pro-Trumper with a history of bashing teachers was sworn into the Jefferson Parish school board in Louisiana on January 5, prompting severe backlash from teachers. 

Reportedly, the controversial businessman was at the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol in 2020, although that remains speculation for now. Nonetheless, his social media history indicates he was a strong pro-Trumper, who attacked lawmakers who called out Donald Trump for his role in the coup attempt, including Louisiana Senator John Kennedy. He also once attacked teachers, blaming them for "the fall of our young people in this country." 

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Yet, despite these facts, Rafidi was voted into the school board 7-1, with one voter abstaining. It's prompted a furious backlash from teachers, with some even calling for his resignation. There's no news yet on whether Rafidi will bow to the pressure, but judging by his social media history, he has no qualms about being unpopular.

Who is Rafael Rafidi?

Based in Metairie, Louisiana, Rafidi is the owner and President of RAW Homes LLC Residential Builders. According to his LinkedIn profile, he's an alumnus of the University of New Orleans, where he graduated in 1995 with a degree in marketing. Beyond that, little else is known about Rafidi, until his appointment to the school board. According to Nola.com, he was the only person who expressed an interest in the job. 

And so, he was sworn in on January 5 in a special session, with the board backing his appointment. They did, however, note his rather controversial social media posts. "There are some things on your Facebook that I am just saying, as a board member, you might not want that one there. You might want to clean up your Facebook," one board member told him at the meeting. It appears Rafidi took that advice and since deleted many of his controversial posts and even shut down his Twitter account.

But it hasn't satisfied everyone, and with good reason. According to old tweets, he was at the 'Stop the Steal' rally Trump spoke at on January 6, 2020, before the insurrection. It's unclear though if he did storm the Capitol. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Teachers have 'no value, no ethics'

On January 13, Rafidi tweeted, "I was there, heard the entire speech and walked peacefully with thousands singing God bless America and praying on the way to the capital. What's true now for sure is the FIX IS IN! And it's all of you in the media and government. What a shame!" After that, he called former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy "f-----g traitors", and dubbed Sen. Kennedy "an embarrassment". 

More worryingly, Rafidi also has targeted teachers. In August 2018, he tweeted, "Teachers are the fall of our young people in this country. No values, no work ethic, and just suck as much as you can from those that work hard. Good job." Such posts led Kesler Camese-Jones, the president of the parish's teacher's union to tell Nola, "I question his ability to serve impartially. It's a question about whether he can serve a community as diverse as this." 

Another board member told The Daily Beast, "It’s a direct slap in the face and he’s unfit to serve as a school board member. This is not what Jefferson Parish represents and this is not what a school board member represents.” One board member also slammed, "He’s bad for the progression of race relations in Jefferson Parish." There's now an active effort to get Rafidfi to resign, but so far, it seems like he is staying put given that no one else is stepping up to replace him.  

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