Timing Is Everything: Texas Lt. Governor Criticized For Poorly Timed Tweet
By Marisa Comeau-Kerege
As Pride festivals and celebrations united the LGBTQ community across the country, one such celebration came to a tragic end as Omar Mateen tore through the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida just after 2 a.m. Sunday, June 12th, with an assault rifle, killing 49 and wounding 53.
Approximately 960 miles away, the Lieutenant Governor of Texas, Dan Patrick, woke to what seemed like an average Sunday morning and posted his weekly bible verse on Twitter. The post, a passage from Galatians, read, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”
This caused mass outrage across social media platforms as many mourned the tragic events that had unfolded early that morning. LGBTQ activist and actor, George Takei, took to Twitter calling for the Lt. Governor’s resignation.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) June 12, 2016
Although many clearly saw it as a response to the tragic shooting, the Lt. Governor’s spokesman, Allen Blakemore, said the tweet was designed and planned Thursday of the previous week and was in no way connected to the events at the Pulse nightclub.
“We regret the unfortunate timing of these posts and ask everyone to join us in praying for the people of Orlando in this awful time,” said Blakemore in a statement released on the issue.
The Texas Democratic Party pushed for a response from the Lt. Governor who was away on vacation at the time.
— Texas Democrats (@texasdemocrats) June 12, 2016
The Lt. Governor deleted the tweet but posted another passage shortly after from Psalm 37:39.
Have a blessed Sunday! pic.twitter.com/RaoitzD7fV
— Dan Patrick (@DanPatrick) June 12, 2016
He then posted an explanation of the situation on Facebook saying, “Let me be clear, I didn’t pull down the FB post & tweet because God’s word is wrong. His word is never wrong. Taking down his word would be like tearing a page from the Bible because we didn’t like what God was telling us. I took it down to stop the hateful comments and the misinformation being spread of God’s message to all of us- straight or gay.”
This caused more criticism from already opposed parties on social media, many seeing it as a bible lesson rather than an apology. The Huffington Post went so far as to write a highly circulated op-ed piece saying that due to his previous anti-LGBTQ legislative stances, the posts showed a clear bias against a constituent group and was clear cause for his resignation.
The outcome over this dispute is yet to be seen, but one thing is for sure; timing is everything.
Marisa Comeau-Kerege is a Contributing Editor with The Social Media Monthly.