It’s not a great day on Twitter for the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC).
The group is working overtime to preserve the Republican Senate majority. So it’s been spending a lot of time hammering Rep. Tammy Duckworth (Ill.), the Democrat seeking to challenge GOP Sen. Mark Kirk (Ill.) in what is expected to be an intense battle this November.
Like any political organization, the NRSC consistently criticizes its opponents on social media. But what the @NRSC Twitter account posted Tuesday could not have been part of its plan. As captured by BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski, here’s what the organization wrote:
The tweet was deleted about 10 minutes later. Why? Duckworth is a veteran. In fact, she lost both her legs while serving in Iraq, then came back and worked as an assistant secretary in the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Twitter users did not react well to the NRSC’s choice of words. After all, it’s hard to imagine a worse jab at Duckworth than “not standing up” (emphasis added) for veterans. Tuesday was also International Women’s Day, something several critics went out of their way to note:
The NRSC acknowledged the tweet and threw shade at reporters who asked questions.
“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,” spokeswoman Andrea Bozek wrote in an email.
Bozek is referring to a lawsuit filed against Duckworth nearly a decade ago by two employees of an Illinois veterans home. The plaintiffs allege Duckworth treated them unfairly while she led the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, a claim Duckworth denies. The suit has been dismissed twice in so far in court, but a new trial is reportedly scheduled for early April.
Duckworth’s campaign called the NRSC tweet “tasteless and dishonest, just like everything else to do with Mark Kirk’s flailing campaign.”
“Tammy has made fighting for veterans her life’s work, and will continue to do so in the Senate,” said campaign spokesman Matt McGrath.
Here’s what the NRSC posted as a replacement:
But the back-and-forth did not stop there. Later, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) criticized the NRSC for its statement and called for the group to apologize to Duckworth.
“The NRSC’s deeply offensive tweet about Tammy Duckworth was wrong, and their subsequent response was somehow even more appalling,” DSCC Executive Director Tom Lopach said in a statement.
“Instead of taking responsibility and apologizing to Tammy, who lost both of her legs in service to this country, Republicans blamed the media. That’s unacceptable and Tammy is owed an apology.”