A menacing Facebook comment on U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer’s page has triggered a social media dust-up and prompted the congressman’s staff to call for an apology from a Lino Lakes city leader.
Melissa Maher, a member of the Lino Lakes City Council, left the comment in a post about Emmer’s recent visit to an alfalfa farm in Wright County.
Maher wrote: “If I were you Emmer, I’d avoid people who have a lot of deadly objects at hand. Selling us all out was not a good plan for your future. You’re a coward and a party whore.”
David FitzSimmons, Emmer’s chief of staff, confirmed that Maher’s post has been reported to police at the Capitol due to its threatening undertones.
“I don’t know what would precipitate a comment like that,” FitzSimmons said.
He tweeted a screen shot of the Facebook comment Tuesday afternoon, which prompted calls for an apology from Maher and even her resignation from City Council.
Hours after her original comment, Maher posted a reply: “Total lapse of judgment on my part.”
Maher, a licensed lawyer, said Tuesday that she regrets her comments and that she intended to express frustration over Emmer’s recent vote in favor of the American Health Care Act, a House GOP measure designed to replace the Affordable Care Act, which came to be called Obamacare.
“I am embarrassed and appalled at my behavior late at night on Facebook,” Maher said in a telephone interview.
She said she has no plans to resign but plans to apologize to Emmer.
“I think council members are citizens and humans also, and we’re entitled to be just as stupid as everyone else sometimes,” Maher said. “I don’t think that in this political climate, people voicing their dislike over a politician’s decision is anything that would warrant a resignation.”
Emmer’s staff also contacted Lino Lakes city officials for a formal apology.
“There is no way this represents the views of the city at all,” said City Administrator Jeff Karlson.
FitzSimmons said Emmer’s staff has reached out to Capitol police about five times this year due to threatening messages. He said he also decided to tweet Maher’s comment because she is a public official.
“In my mind, someone that should be holding the public’s trust should be held accountable for that,” FitzSimmons said.