Late last week, Jon Stewart took over Stephen Colbert’s desk on The Late Show to explain how the “one hallmark” of Donald Trump’s presidency that people just can’t seem to cope with is the fact that no matter what he does, “it always comes with an extra layer of gleeful cruelty and dickishness.”
On Friday, Idaho state Rep. Priscilla Giddings (R) exhibited this “extra layer” with astounding accuracy when she shared a photo to Facebook mocking students who were peacefully protesting gun violence.
In the photo, Idaho State University students stand with the Republican state lawmaker just outside of Idaho’s Republican convention, holding signs in protest of gun violence. One sign reads, “The solutions we need cannot fit into a bubble,” another says “2nd Amendment says we have the right to bear arms, not to bear artillery.”
The teens’ message was a timely one, given Thursday’s mass shooting at the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis, MD, which left five dead and two injured.
Giddings’ tone-deaf caption to this photo culminated in what some could not help but see as a thinly-veiled threat. “Idaho State University students peacefully protesting our Republican convention. Do you think I should show these girls the empty 30mm shell I have in the truck?”
Needless to say, the social media response to Giddings’ photograph — which is still up as of time of writing — was swift. Some called for Idaho’s 7th district state representative to resign (she is up for re-election in November, and is running unopposed.) Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton retweeted a screenshot of the Facebook post, calling Gidding’s caption “monstrous.”
Others voiced similar sentiments.
A slew of angry comments also flooded the representative’s Facebook post. One commenter wrote, “You really need to resign. You have no place as a representative. Your tone deaf comment is vile, especially with the recent shooting this week. I hope you never lose someone to gun violence and then have to hear idiotic comments such as yours.”
Another wrote, “Subtle intimidation? Veiled threat? Such a bad example of supporting peaceable demonstration of 1st Amendment rights. Better to engage them in a discussion of differing points of view. You know: kitchen table conversation. Democratic Americanism.”
Giddings declined to comment about her Facebook post, though she told The Associated Press she would be releasing a statement. Most worrying of all is the fact that this awful display of inhumanity will do nothing to stop her from being reelected again this fall.