After Brian Kemp won the Republican nomination for Georgia governor last week, a dean at the University of Georgia tweeted some kind words about his old friend.
“I went to high school with GOP guv candidate @BrianKempGA. We played YMCA ball from childhood. Politics be damned. He is a nice guy, always was. Kind to a fault,” Charles Davis, dean of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, tweeted. “He’s a friend, always has been, and will be when we’re old(er) and grey(er). That’s how all this should work, people.”
But some folks aren't feeling the friendlies with Kemp — who's Georgia's secretary of state, an unabashed supporter of President Donald Trump, and not shy about saying what's on his mind.
For example, anger ensued over a Kemp ad in which he holds a gun while talking to a kid interested in dating his daughter.
And he ran another campaign ad — saying among other things — that he'd track down “criminal illegals.”
“I got a big truck, just in case I need to round up criminal illegals and take 'em home myself,” Kemp said in the spot. "I own guns that no one's takin' away" and "if you want a politically incorrect conservative, that’s me.”
The Twitter mob clobbers the dean
All that to say, Davis got some static for his kind words about Kemp.
- "Respectfully, that’s not how this should work," one user tweeted to Davis. "Promoting bipartisan politics shouldn’t be the norm when a candidate spews bigoted and dangerous rhetoric."
- Another user called Davis' words about Kemp a "perfect example of
#privilege. When you are a white, well-off, straight male you can ignore policy and just for vote who you played ball with."
- Yet another user said, “You’re a straight white man. Of course he was nice and kind to you. Racists are generally nice to their own kind. Why don’t you say what you really mean. Politics be damned. You’d never vote for a black woman and would much rather vote for the white racist," Campus Reform said.
Kemp is facing off in November against Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams, who would be America's first black female governor if she wins, Politico reported.
How did Davis react to the backlash?
Davis took down his tweet about Kemp shortly after posting it, Campus Reform said, and then on Friday he issued an apology:
"I’d like to apologize to anyone offended by my tweet shout out to Brian Kemp," Davis wrote. "It was ill-timed and poorly written. I’ve read and learned so much from you all and will endeavor to be more thoughful [sic]."
Davis also said in a brief statement through the university that he wasn't attacked by colleagues or administrators for his initial tweet and that “the decision was entirely mine” to apologize, Campus Reform reported.
The outlet added that the Kemp campaign didn't immediately reply to a request for comment on the matter.