On Saturday morning, a spokesman for Pennsylvania Democrat Rep. Conor Lamb retweeted a tweet in such a way that it appeared he was targeting Lamb’s GOP opponent, Sean Parnell, with the message, “Burn in hell and die.”
That staffer happened to be Lamb’s brother Coleman, who added to the retweet, “Can add @SeanParnellUSA here.”
The original Tweet was deleted but here it is: pic.twitter.com/Y32v9UDpEB
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) July 18, 2020
In response, Parnell issued a statement asserting, “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. However, I believe that everyone needs a little grace from time to time. 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.”
As reported by The Washington Examiner, Parnell campaign spokesman Andrew Brey pointed out, “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.”
Lamb won his seat in March 2018 by half a point against his Republican opponent, the Examiner notes, and following that election, the state Supreme Court approved a new congressional district map, making it more Democrat-leaning, prompting Lamb’s 13-point victory that November.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, before Coleman Lamb retweeted the “Burn in hell” tweet, a Twitter user going by the name “Sean Strnad” posted a message about the late Congressman John Lewis, opining 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.”
The Gazette reported that Coleman Lamb replied, “You are literally a clown. You deserve nothing,” then added, “This is the Trump/[Sean Strnad] campaign.” Another user then reportedly responded to the Strnad account posting the message about Lewis, writing, “Burn in hell and die.”
Coleman Lamb then retweeted the “Burn in hell” tweet, adding, “Can add [Sean Parnell] here.”
Lamb’s campaign manager, Abby Nassif-Murphy, stated 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.” She admitted, “It was intemperate and [Coleman] should’ve realized how it could be misconstrued.” She continued that Parnell, his supporters and “the paid trolls in the national Republican party say all kinds of things about us on Twitter,” adding that “we don’t complain and the media doesn’t cover it — nor should they.”
Parnell, who served with the 10th Mountain Division in Afghanistan, is the author of The New York Times bestselling book Outlaw Platoon, the story of his platoon’s combat in Eastern Afghanistan.
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