Backlash continues against Senator Townsend after tweet depicts Limbaugh as KKK member
DOVER, Del. – Senator Bryan Townsend is receiving backlash after he posted a comic to twitter on Saturday depicting Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Rush Limbaugh as a member of the Klu Klux Klan. Dozens of people have since called for Townsend’s resignation, and now local lawmakers are reacting as well.
“I was disheartened that a majority party whip, a leadership position, who should hold other legislators accountable for such actions, has taken this course,” Representative Steve Smyk said.
“[I was] very disappointed, when I see something like that from another elected official it gives me a moment of pause,” Representative Ruth Briggs King added.
People took to Facebook to criticize Townsend’s actions, some even demanding his resignation. Others, though, say he did nothing but exercise his first amendment rights. But local lawmakers say, as a politician, that right holds more weight.
“When you were elected, yes you have free speech, but you also have a privilege to represent people and to represent different beliefs and different opinions in a respectable manner,” Briggs King said.
On Tuesday, Senator Townsend released a statement saying in part: “Mr. Limbaugh is a public figure, and when President Trump chose to award him a Medal of Freedom, it fairly opened that decision up to public reaction.”
But local lawmakers stress that politicians need to be mindful of how they respond.
“Once you take on leadership positions or once you get into a position in which you represent everyone or one to attract everyone to your point of view, the last thing you want to do is alienate yourself or pick on certain groups,” Smyk said.
Local lawmakers add that in a world where we’re all constantly connected through social media, we should all be mindful of what we post online.
“A lot of times you’re posting things and people aren’t necessarily your friends and your acquaintances, and you need to think about how you’re going to converse with people,” Briggs King said.
In his statement Senator Townsend also wrote: “It is my belief that the kind of hateful, divisive rhetoric Mr. Limbaugh has put forth for many years is undeserving of the Medal of Freedom but is aligned with hate groups. It is as simple as that.”
Senator Townsend has not deleted his tweet. It now has over one thousand replies on his twitter page.