Tom Reed's campaign and his supporters are making a big stink about some very ill-considered remarks posted by one of Tracy Mitrano's staffers on her Instagram account. Reed has posted this photo from the Instagram post, along with the caption "WARNING: Explicit Language – Extreme Ithaca Liberal Post" on his Extreme Ithaca Liberal site.
This incident has been publicized on Legal Insurrection, which features a press release attacking the Mitrano campaign. This is from the press release:
“It’s stunning that a paid member of Tracy Mitrano’s staff and a spokesperson for her campaign would make such hateful and offensive statements,” said Abbey Daugherty, Communications Director for Tom Reed for Congress. “It shows what truly motivates Tracy Mitrano and her team: a hatred of our law enforcement community and our capitalist system. This should further illustrate to voters why they simply cannot trust Tracy Mitrano.”
Reed's campaign was swift to smear Mitrano for the actions of her staffer. And if the Mitrano campaign had kept this staffer on its payroll after they learned about the post then the attack on Mitrano would be justified. However, as Legal Insurrection noted in its update, The Olean Times Herald posted a story saying the staffer no longer worked for the Mitrano campaign. This is from the Times Herald:
Mitrano released a statement late Saturday: “One of my campaign field workers put a post on social media last night that was not in keeping with the standards to which I have run my campaign for the last 16 months,” Mitrano said.
Reading between the lines, this staffer was forced to resign (i.e. fired). I do not know the full story behind her resignation. She may have stepped down on her own after seeing the damage her continued presence on the campaign would cause the campaign, but there is not a shred of doubt in my mind that Tracy would have fired her had she not resigned. Tracy Mitrano does not hate cops. She does not hate capitalism. And though she is dismayed by Trump's and Reed's policies, she would never express her opposition to them in such vulgar terms. I can understand Reed's outrage at what this staffer wrote. His outrage is well justified, given the tenor of the staffer's comments. But to try to smear Mitrano because of the bad actions of a staffer who was swiftly dismissed from the campaign is despicable.
There are several points about this incident worth noting:
- This is not the first time that Reed has attacked Tracy's supporters in order to make her look bad. I wrote a previous post that closely examined his smears. In it, I introduced the concept of the Reed Corollary and the Messing Maxim. They are relevant here, though with some modification to the Messing Maxim.
The Reed Corollary: "If the candidate is supported by scumbags, then the candidate must be a scumbag. If the candidate can't keep her supporters under control, the candidate is not suited for office."
The Messing Maxim: "You can tell more about a politician by who they support than you can tell by looking at a small, non-randomly selected fraction of the population who support that politician"
The Messing Maxim needs to be modified for this situation. The situation is more serious here, because this staffer is not part of a randomly selected portion of the population. She is someone that Tracy Mitrano or a more senior staff member chose to be on her staff. This makes the lapse in judgment in hiring this individual more serious. However, it is clear that Mitrano does NOT support what this staffer said because she immediately cut ties with the staffer as soon as she found out about the Instagram post.
- Tom Reed is a big supporter of Donald Trump's. He was one of the first members of Congress to endorse candidate Trump back in March 2016. Trump rewarded Reed's early support by appointing him as one of several Vice Chairs of his Transition Team. And though Reed might not agree with everything Trump has done, he appears to be willing to aid and abet Trump's apparent obstruction of justice by calling for an end to the Mueller investigation.
- Tom Reed and his fellow Republicans can cut the phony outrage over this staffer's use of vulgarities. They had no problem throwing their support behind President Pussygrabber despite his use of vulgar language bragging about his sexual harassment (language that lend's credibility to the numerous women who claim that Trump has sexually harassed them.) They had no problems continuing their support of Trump despite the overwhelming evidence that he is a racist. Not one of them has declared, "I can no longer support Trump because he called African nations 'shithole countries'". Despite any qualms they may have had, they threw their support behind Trump when he declared moral equivalency between the U.S. and Russia to semi-justify Putin's assassination of opposition journalist.
Trump's repeated referral to most of the press as "the enemy of the people"-- a phrase used by Nazis and Stalin to demonize the media critical of their regimes, was not enough for Republicans to renounce support for him. Nor was it a deal breaker when Trump blamed the media for the fact that one of his most enthusiastic supporters sent a pipe bomb to CNN and several prominent left-wing critics who Trump had demonized.
And I saw no calls for Trump's impeachment, even when Trump declared that he and Kim Jong Eun--one of the most oppressive dictators in history--fell in love.
Compare Tracy Mitrano's break with a misguided staff member to Reed's continued support of Trump despite Trump's repeated outrageous behavior that undermines the cohesiveness of our society and should disgust anyone with a sence of decency.
- It looks like this smear on Reed's part is a desperate attempt to take people's attention away from a less than flattering article on the Intercept that examined the history of the medical debt collection agency that he had founded. Here are the first three paragraphs from the article.
OVER THE LAST two years, Michael Enslow, a resident of Waterloo, New York, has been in a back-and-forth with a debt collector. The exchanges, familiar to many Americans, ended up in federal court, claiming that the debt collection company repeatedly refused to remove medical debt he long ago resolved from his credit report. Their error prevented him from getting preapproved for a mortgage.
Such chicanery is par for the course in the debt collection industry, which is known for abusive practices, including bullying consumers into paying debts they do not owe. What’s unusual about Enslow’s case is that he was mistreated by a company that his own representative in Congress, western New York’s Republican Rep. Tom Reed, founded.
More than a dozen other consumers, including other New York residents, have filed complaints about Reed’s company, according to a docket maintained by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, one of the agencies that oversees consumer lending companies. Several of the complaints claim that Reed’s firm harassed them for medical debt they never incurred or had already resolved.
Tom Reed put up a Facebook post slamming Mitrano for her former staffer's Instagram Post. I would like to post this rebuttal on Reed's Facebook post. However, I am unable to do so--Tom Reed or someone from his staff has blocked me from commenting on his Politician's Facebook page. I have admittedly posted critical, but respectful comments on his Facebook page before. But what seems to have gotten me banned was when I posted a link to the Intercept article about the debt collection agency that he had founded. Unfortunately, I did not keep a copy of that post, but I said something like, "Congressman Reed, I just want to bring this Intercept article to your attention. I am not going to slam you for it, but LOTS and LOTS of people are slamming you for it on Twitter. Here is where your critics are cutting you down. I'm just posting these links here in case you weren't aware of what was going on and wanted to jump into the fray to defend yourself." I then posted a link to the article and the comments on Twitter.
Evidently Reed is VERY sensitive about the Intercept article. I would be most grateful to anyone who would post a link to this rebuttal on Reed's Facebook page. But I can understand why people might not want to do so. Post a link to this rebuttal to his smear on Mitrano and Reed might cut off your ability to make further comments on his page.