Tennessee's Republican Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey connected President Barack Obama with Al Qaeda at a time of two overlapping national events – the debate over Syria and the 12th anniversary of 9/11 – prompting a social media stir. On Thursday morning, he issued a statement standing his ground, defending his tweet on Facebook.
On the morning of Sept. 11, Ramsey tweeted, “As the President attempts to ally w/ Al-Qaeda in Syria's civil war, we must always remember who attacked us on our soil 12 years ago."
It was retweeted 121 times and a favorite for 42 Twitter users.
The tweet came about 12 hours after Obama delivered a primetime address from the White House regarding action Syria, where dictator Bashar Assad used chemical weapons killing 1,429 people in the country, according to U.S. intelligence. However, many of the rebels seeking to overthrow the Assad regime are themselves affiliated with Al Qaeda, giving many U.S. lawmakers pause about intervening in the conflict.
Replies were overwhelmingly negative, with others tweeting, “You should apologize and resign sir,” and “way to go to the lowest level. You should be ashamed of yourself.” One defender wrote, “Oh how quickly we forget #911, the attackers, & the events that took place. #ditto.”
One of the more prominent replies came from Democratic state Rep. Craig Fitzhugh, who accused Ramsey of a “cheap political tweet.”
“It's an insult to the president and dishonors this day,” Fitzhugh wrote.
Ramsey didn't cave to criticism, going to Facebook Thursday morning, putting himself in the camp with Republican Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas, and citing the rebels attack on Christians in the country.
"Every September 11 since that tragic Tuesday in 2001 has been a day of remembrance. We remember those who died, those who served and those who carry on. But we must also remember those who attacked us and why," Ramsey wrote on Facebook. "The Syrian rebels connections to Al-Qaeda are well-established and well-known. I am proud to stand with leaders like Senator Ted Cruz and Senator Rand Paul against coming to the aid of our enemies, enemies who continue to hate our country from afar as they kill Christians in their own country."
(H/T: WMC-TV Memphis)