A progressive blogger was fired from his job Friday after criticizing some of Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton’s most influential supporters, calling one of them a “scumbag.”
It all began when blogger Matt Bruenig, who wrote about philosophy and political economy for Demos, came after the progressive think tank, Demos, got into a Twitter dispute with writer Joan Walsh over a piece she wrote for the Nation titled, “Bernie Sanders is hurting himself by playing the victim.”
Walsh tweeted that she rejects “the moral superiority of a coalition led by white men vs. the will of black, brown and female voters” with a link to her article.
I reject the moral superiority of a coalition led by white men vs. the will of black, brown and female voters https://t.co/yi6cx2tYX5— Joan Walsh (@Joan Walsh)1463680118.0
Bruenig responded to the tweet, claiming that the tension diving the Democratic Party is “really about old people versus young people.” He also accused Walsh of harboring “animus towards young people. It’s kind of disgusting.”
@joanwalsh It's really about old people versus young people, but you know that.— Matt Bruenig (@MattBruenig) May 19, 2016
President of the Center for American Progress, Neera Tanden eventually chimed in. By that time, the conversation had moved on to welfare reform.
Bruenig accused Tanden of trying “to starve me and my mother because she wanted to be in Democratic politics,” saying that Tanden supported welfare reform in the 1990s, when Bill Clinton was still president.
Bruenig was never one to hide his critiques of Hillary Clinton. In the past, he called the former secretary of State "an enemy of the poor" and "a garbage rich person."
Tanden shot back at Bruenig, tweeting that “having been on welfare myself, don’t need lectures on this topic from you.”
Bruenig, clearly unmoved, tweeted, “Scumbag Neera uses welfare when she needs it then takes away from others when they need it. Disgusting.”
Tanden responded that she “never worked on welfare reform,” and denied that she ever supported cutting from the program.
Demos responded to the Twitter thread Friday, calling Bruenig’s tweets “unacceptable,” and apologizing on his behalf.
.@Demos_Org encourages debate, not personal attacks. Here's where we stand: https://t.co/M1KHfDRjMT— Demos (@Demos)1463781766.0
Then, later Friday evening, Demos released a statement explaining how it differs with the up-and-coming blogger.
The statement also addresses the hostile state of the Democratic Party, saying “it has been a particularly challenging place for progressives on opposite sides during the Democratic primary, and we know that there is a Sanders versus Clinton overlay to the Twitter exchange on Thursday night.”
After he was fired, Bruenig set up a GoFundMe page for "The Bruenig Bailout,” which raised nearly $25,000 in less than 24 hours.