A spokesman for Pennsylvania Democratic Congressman Conor Lamb appeared to signal on Twitter over the weekend that he wanted his boss’s Republican opponent, Afghanistan veteran Sean Parnell, to “Burn in hell and die.”
That staffer happened to be Lamb’s brother Coleman, who added to the “burn in hell” comment, “Can add @SeanParnellUSA here.”
The original Tweet was deleted but here it is: pic.twitter.com/Y32v9UDpEB
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) July 18, 2020
Military veteran Sean Parnell responds to ‘distasteful and hateful rhetoric’
Parnell is a military veteran who served with the 10th Mountain Division in Afghanistan, and authored the The New York Times bestselling book “Outlaw Platoon,” about his platoon’s combat experience in Eastern Afghanistan.
Parnell said in a response statement, “It is disappointing that Conor Lamb’s brother, a leader in his campaign, would stoop so low as to call for the death of a political opponent. It is distasteful and hateful rhetoric that has no place in political discourse.”
“In the spirit of today’s cancel culture, one would expect calls for Coleman Lamb’s immediate dismissal,” Parnell continued. “However, I believe that everyone needs a little grace from time to time.”
We are saddened and disappointed by Conor Lamb’s campaign manager wishing death on a decorated combat veteran.
Sean Parnell is an American hero and Conor’s silence on this statement shows us everything we need to know about today’s climate in politics. pic.twitter.com/QlksmiXhx1
— Allegheny GOP (@GOPAllegheny) July 19, 2020
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Parnell’s fundraising surpassing Lamb’s
A seemingly gracious Parnell continued, “As despicable as Coleman Lamb’s comments are, everyone makes mistakes, and I hope that Coleman Lamb, Conor Lamb, and their campaign team can learn from it.”
Lamb barely won his seat in March 2018, besting his GOP opponent by only half a point. A state Supreme Court decision led to a new congressional district map that made it more Democrat-favored, allowing Lamb to enjoy a 13-point victory that November.
The Washington Examiner reported that Parnell campaign spokesman Andrew Brey noted, “The tweet comes on the heels of this week’s release of campaign finance data showing that Parnell outraised Lamb nearly 2-1 in the second quarter of 2020. Parnell raised over $717,000; Lamb raised only $441,393 during the same period.”
Republican challenger Sean Parnell outraised Democratic U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb in the second quarter by $273,000. https://t.co/4Ij8Zp7a0d
— Ellwood City Ledger (@ECLedger) July 20, 2020
This Twitter controversy appeared to be first picked up by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, before Coleman Lamb retweeted the “Burn in hell” post, a Twitter user the name “Sean Strnad” shared a post about the late Congressman John Lewis. The Twitter user insisted that Lewis “deserved to see [Vermont Sen.] Bernie Sanders nominated for the Democratic presidential ticket … But as a sellout, [Mr. Lewis] endorsed Joe Biden. So now, well, he’s not going to miss out on too much, unfortunately.”
Coleman Lamb reportedly replied, “You are literally a clown. You deserve nothing,” adding, “This is the Trump/[Sean Strnad] campaign.”
Perhaps campaigns should avoid death threats directed at their opponents. https://t.co/L5xxVL0HwB
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) July 19, 2020
Team Lamb addresses the controversy
Another Twitter user then reportedly replied to the Strnad account’s Lewis message, writing, “Burn in hell and die.”
Coleman Lamb then retweeted the “Burn in hell” post, adding, “Can add [Sean Parnell] here.”
Lamb’s campaign manager, Abby Nassif-Murphy, said that Coleman Lamb “did not threaten anyone,” but tagged Mr. Parnell’s account “while responding to vile tweets from the Republicans attacking John Lewis in the hours after his death.”
“It was intemperate and [Coleman] should’ve realized how it could be misconstrued,” Nassif-Murphy admitted.
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