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- The former head of the Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub, hit back at critics of his recent viral tweet in an interview with Business Insider.
- Shaub wrote that he was “stocking up on portable phone chargers, warm clothes, & gear needed for when we take the streets” if Trump fires special counsel Robert Mueller.
- Shaub said the resulting backlash was a “coordinated attack” from those who are fearful of what the Mueller probe will show.
Walter Shaub, the former head of the Office of Government Ethics under Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, hit back at critics of his recent viral tweet in an interview with Business Insider.
Shaub, who resigned earlier this year from the post ahead of his five-year term’s completion, tweeted over the weekend that he was “stocking up on portable phone chargers, warm clothes, & gear needed for when we take the streets” if Trump fires special counsel Robert Mueller.
“I’m concerned the assault on the rule of law is coming over the holidays when we’re distracted,” he wrote, linking to a MoveOn.Org March he signed up for. “It’ll be a defining moment for the Republic.”
Conservatives quickly roasted Shaub, an Obama appointee, for the tweet, which has more than 12,000 retweets and 24,000 likes.
“Funniest tweet I’ve seen all year,” tweeted right-wing television pundit and former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino. “Fake Obama administration tough guy is going to ‘take the streets.’ ???????? These Liberal pajama boy, safe-spacer, snowflakes couldn’t ‘take’ the local glee club. Embarrassing.”
“This is unhinged,” tweeted conservative writer David French. “Sane people stock up for the inevitable zombie apocalypse, not political revolution.”
The tweet even got placement on the “Fox & Friends” morning show, which Trump watches frequently.
‘My first experience of maybe drawing the Eye of Sauron’
Responding to some of the backlash, Shaub, who frequently clashed with the Trump administration in his past role, said it was the first time he had experienced such a response to one of his tweets.
“I have to say this was my first experience of maybe drawing the Eye of Sauron and have them unleash the trolls and bots on me,” he said, noting the number of “likes” he received on his tweet. “It was fascinating to watch because a large number of them, hundreds, responded with violent threatening statements like they were going to shoot everyone who was marching or they were going to run them over in the streets.”
“And of course that’s unfortunate imagery after the same tiki-torch wielding crowd murdered a woman in Charlottesville,” he continued. “But I think to some extent, they were effective in ginning up the propaganda blogs like The Daily Caller in trying to spin it into something more than it was.”
He said he was flabbergasted about how anyone could read his tweet and interpret it as a call for violence, noting that the items he was talking about gathering ahead of a possible march were for obviously non-violent purposes. For example, he said, the phone batteries would allow him to tweet.
“There is literally no way to read that as anything other than a statement that we were going to do a peaceful protest, because it was a retweet of a statement that I had signed up for this march,” he said. “And when you look at the march webpage, you cannot sign up for it unless you click the box that says you promise to be non-violent and you promise to comply with all law enforcement instructions. I don’t know how much clearer it could’ve possibly been.”
He said the negative response to his tweet amounted to a “coordinated attack” from those on the right who are “very frightened by this investigation and want to do anything they can to shut it down.”
“But unfortunately, the way these internet things work nowadays with the bots and the trolls, they try to spin a thing as much as they can and sort of inflame viewpoints people already have,” he said. “That was fascinating.”