King County Republican Party Chairman Lori Sotelo attributed the controversy to "AntiTrump Leftist Haters" who "have had their feelings hurt because their emails to me yesterday about Republican complicity in the murder of children (referencing the FL massacre) were not well received."
With emotions running high after another gun massacre at a U.S. school, King County Republican Party Chairman Lori Sotelo has landed in a social-media-driven controversy after her terse response to a gun-control advocate started to go viral online.
It began when a woman emailed Sotelo on Thursday about the latest U.S. gun massacre, at a high school in Florida where 17 people died. The woman, identifying herself as Ginny Baldwin, a parent in King County, asked Sotelo to stop allowing the National Rifle Association to influence gun-control debates through its donations to politicians.
“I’m not saying that people shouldn’t own guns, but the irresponsibility of a few has made tighter gun laws necessary,” Baldwin wrote.
She closed her email by asking: “Please encourage your colleagues to reject funding from the NRA. The American people overwhelmingly support tighter gun regulations. Don’t be complicit in the deaths of innocent children by doing nothing.”
Taking offense at the complicity line, Sotelo replied: “WOW! Just. WOW! Please, do not ever contact me again.”
That response soon started circulating on Facebook and in emails, with critics attacking Sotelo for what some called “shameful behavior” and an “unacceptable response” to Baldwin’s email. Some notified reporters and flooded Sotelo’s Facebook page and posted the phone number and email for the King County GOP office. Others defended Sotelo on Facebook and attacked her critics as rude.
In a follow-up Facebook post, Sotelo didn’t back down, attributing the controversy to “AntiTrump Leftist Haters” who “have had their feelings hurt because their emails to me yesterday about Republican complicity in the murder of children (referencing the FL massacre) were not well received.”
She went on: “The Haters who flashmobbed my inbox and social media don’t want solutions, they only want to create chaos and confusion in hopes of getting their way. They have been harassing elected officials all over the country for a year now. Republicans need to send a message loud and clear. Stop! Or as I said in my replies to the malcontent mobsters…’don’t ever contact me again!’ “
Asked whether she regretted her initial response or had any more comment, Sotelo said via text message, “In my opinion it is not newsworthy. If anything positive happens it would be tho. It’s mostly a cluster of indivisibles from out of county/state being bullies.” (‘Indivisibles’ refers to the liberal activist organizations that have emerged across the country since Trump’s inauguration.)
Like most states, Republicans in Washington have largely opposed new gun restrictions, and party organizations have even auctioned off semi-automatic rifles at official fundraising dinners. The state GOP platform opposes gun registration and the licensing of gun owners, and calls for “the repeal of all laws and regulations which aim to impair or infringe the exercise of the right to keep and bear arms.”