A top Donald Trump supporter drew fire Wednesday for a tweet that he says was a “well-intended mistake,” which seemed to call for the lynching of Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
The message was replaced with another that simply said “@LorettaLynch let the Grand Jury decide.”
Paladino was apparently weighing in on FBI Director James Comey’s announcement that the bureau would recommend no charges in the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email server. The matter is now referred to the Justice Department, and Lynch – the country’s first female African-American attorney general – has said she’ll accept the recommendations of the FBI and career prosecutors in the Justice Department.
The Buffalo businessman seemed to be making the case that a grand jury should make the final call.
Paladino told CNN it was all a misunderstanding.
“I intended to say to Lynch to send the FBI report to the grand jury to decide criminality which she is legally obligated to do,” Paladino said in an email. “I have never personally tweeted. We are novices. My assistant tried to send it directly to Loretta Lynch by adding ’@Loretta Lynch.’ It was a well-intended mistake that the progressive press wants to take out of context.”
But the use of “lynch” in front of the attorney general’s Twitter account handle drew notice. In addition to being interpreted as a call for violence, the charged term had added connotations in relation to Lynch, who is only the second African-American to hold the office of attorney general.
A tweet from Paladino’s account replied to a question from a reporter about the language by saying it was that staffer’s fault.
“I work for Carl, I’m new to twitter & tweeted what Carl asked but made mistake of adding Lynch. My bad,” the tweet read.
The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
Paladino is one of Trump’s most vocal supporters, but has also drawn criticism in the past for his language. In April he talked about exterminators ridding government of “raccoons in the basement,” which is also a racial slur for African-Americans that many interpreted as being directed toward President Barack Obama.