National Republican Group Faces Backlash After Posting an Offensive Tweet

March 8th 2016

Alex Mierjeski

A national group of Republicans came under fire on Tuesday after tweeting out an unfortunately worded tweet attacking Illinois Senate Democratic candidate Tammy Duckworth, a veteran who lost both legs in the Iraq War.

"Tammy Duckworth has a sad record of not standing up for our veterans," the now-deleted tweet from the National Republican Senatorial Committee read. BuzzFeed's Andrew Kaczynski took a screengrab of the tweet before it evaporated:

Politico reports that the NRSC, which has been fighting to keep Republicans in the Senate majority, removed the tweet within minutes of posting it — but not before its tone-deaf line of attack was picked apart on social media.

Duckworth's campaign responded soon after the post went out, calling it "tasteless and dishonest, just like every else to do with [incumbent Republican senator] Mark Kirk's flailing campaign."

"Tammy has made fighting for veterans her life's work, and will continue to do so in the Senate," Duckworth campaign spokesman Matt McGrath said in a statement.

Duckworth, a Democrat, is in her second term in the House of Representatives representing the state of Illinois. She's currently in a primary race for one of the state's senate seats, and is expected to face Kirk in November.

The NRSC has attacked Duckworth for her record of supporting veterans throughout the campaign. 

Andrea Bozek, an NRSC spokesperson, could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon. The GOP group, which helps Republicans in Senate races, acknowledged the tweet's shortsightedness, but used the gaffe to double down on their message. "It would be great if reporters would pay as much attention to a deleted tweet as they should to Tammy Duckworth being sued by VA whistleblowers for ignoring claims of mistreatment and corruption," Andrea Bozek, a spokesperson for the NRSC, told Politico.

The suit in question was apparently referring to has been dismissed twice in court, but has a new trial scheduled for April, the Washington Post reports.

Earlier on Tuesday, the NRSC launched a more drawn out attack against Duckworth's political record at the Illinois Department of Veteran's Affairs on its website. Duckworth served as director of the Illinois VA from 2006 to 2009, and as the Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs in the US Department of Veterans Affairs from 2009 to 2011.