PHOENIX (ChurchMilitant.com) - Claiming the offending employee has been disciplined, the Democrat senatorial hopeful for Arizona is refusing to fire a member of his press team after the staffer's boorish anti-police comment on social media.
T.J. L'Heureux apologized late last week for calling police "worthless f***-ing pigs" in a tweet. The Arizona Republic, the state's most circulated newspaper, reports L'Heureux shared the offensive comment prior to joining Democrat Mark Kelly's campaign. He did it in response to a video of people protesting police in Chicago.
A spokesperson for Republican incumbent Martha McSally said the "comments are disgusting and were made just one week before Mark Kelly hired this person, meaning he knew about it and was OK with it."
"It's just further proof that Mark embraces extreme anti-law enforcement ideas and rhetoric. Anything he tries to say to the contrary is a bunch of hot air," she added.
L'Heureux said in a statement:
I deeply regret my comment and apologize for what I wrote — I was wrong. My comment does not reflect who I am or what I believe, and most importantly, it is not representative of what this campaign stands for. The language I used and the sentiment I conveyed do not belong in our political process, which is why I have deleted the tweet.
A spokesman for Kelly said the "campaign values the public service, bravery and sacrifice of police officers across our nation."
"The tweet posted by a junior staff member is unacceptable and we are taking the appropriate action," he added.
Senator McSally reacted in a tweet, saying, "Mark Kelly's weak actions on this prove he has no respect for our law enforcement. Of course the media lets him off the hook for not apologizing because he's a Democrat."
While Kelly tries to offer himself as a moderate, Donald Trump, Jr. responded to the candidate's handling of L'Heureux with a warning: "Watch out Arizona. If you surround yourself with these kind of people [L'Heureux] then don't fire them for saying this about cops you're not a moderate you're a radical!"
Church Militant reached out to Mark Kelly's campaign for comment but received no response as of press time.
After talking about how his mother inspired him, Kelly continued:
But I think we can all agree that there is a racial discrimination in our country that has resulted in too many black men being killed by the police. So, where I don't think defunding the police is the answer, police officers have a very difficult job to do. I saw that with my own parents. So, they need to have the resources to do that job. But reforms are needed and necessary and there's a lot that can be done with regards to independent investigations and oversight and accountability and a lot of other things."
Kelly then switched to what he thinks more important, saying, "But I think the larger issue is that the zip code you are born in shouldn't be what determines your educational outcome or the kind of health care you get or your success in life. And this is like a really challenging moment for our country right now."
In early June, Kelly weighed in on George Floyd's death.
"Though steps have been taken to bring justice to George Floyd's family, it doesn't change the fact that he was murdered, or that there are systemic racial justice issues in our country that threaten black lives. That's why so many have joined together to demand justice," he said in a thread of six tweets.
"What we're hearing is the pain felt by those whose experiences with police officers have been far too similar to George Floyd's, and the fear from those worried that future interactions will end the same way," Kelly continued. "I'm committed to listening and being part of the solution to address systemic racism in our justice system and our society. We can and we must work together to bring about real change."
Like Hillary Clinton — exposed in WikiLeaks for saying, "You need both a public and a private position" — Kelly tells voters he supports the Second Amendment while evidence to the contrary suggests the candidate intends to legislate against Americans' constitutional right to bear arms.
Project Veritas (PJ) published two videos in early October exposing Kelly's working covertly with anti-gun groups.
In the first video, a field organizer of Mission for Arizona unwittingly reveals on camera that Kelly "wants to get those Republicans that don't trust Trump anymore and one of their main issues is guns."
Mission for Arizona is described on its website as "a joint effort by Arizona Democrats to elect Mark Kelly and Democrats up and down the ballot in 2020."
The organizer explained she does not think Kelly has made his intentions clear because "he just wants to get elected and then he wants to go further."
She said staffers "want him to come full force out, but ... the problem is this is such a consequential state. I think he's trying to be elected, and then he'll implement the measures."
In the second PV video, a data manager for Everytown for Gun Safety (EGS) explained on a hidden camera that Kelly does not reveal his intentions on guns so "there's a higher probability of being able to enact the kind of legislation you're hoping to see get enacted — things like an assault weapons ban, which would be freakin' lovely."
The EGS website says the organization seeks "to elect a Gun Sense President and Gun Sense Candidates up and down the ballot by spending millions in key presidential battleground states and registering thousands of voters."
The EGS staffer said groups like his work with Kelly's campaign indirectly, mostly by using press releases to communicate unofficially.
"I wish we would just give up the goat [and] stop pretending that like we aren't connected and we have to keep this firewall or whatever," he said. "But like that's typically how it's done. It's like this kind of beat-around-the-bush thing."
In a debate between McSally and Kelly in early October, McSally said Kelly "sold out to China in multiple business arrangements on his path to get rich quick." She also said Kelly, an astronaut, took a Chinese communist banner to space on a mission.
"I'm standing up to China while my opponent is doing business with China, and this is the biggest threat we have going forward," she said in the debate. "We need somebody who is going to be strong on China, not do business with them."