A Democrat running for a US House seat in Pennsylvania offered praise for then-President-elect Donald Trump, called on Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to resign and said progressives “are the least tolerant of anyone who disagrees with them” in a series of now-deleted tweets.
Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli is running to replace retiring Republican Rep. Charlie Dent in what is now Pennsylvania’s 7th District. Morganelli, who is a centrist Democrat running in a crowded field of six primary candidates, is backed by United Together, a group with reported ties with the bipartisan organization No Labels, and longtime Clinton associate Lanny Davis.
The race in Pennsylvania’s 7th district pits the more conservative Morganelli against a slate of more liberal candidates, illustrating the intra-party ideological fights playing out nationwide among Democrats. Heading into Tuesday’s primary, progressive groups are concerned that Morganelli, someone who once floated going to work for Trump’s administration, could emerge as the party’s nominee.
Morganelli has long been a hardliner on immigration, breaking with his party and advocating for a crackdown on illegal immigration. Since announcing his run in January, Morganelli has emphasized his efforts on several liberal policy priorities, including gun control, equal pay for women, alleviating student loan debt and increasing access to affordable health care.
Morganelli’s candidacy has drawn the ire of progressive groups, with the pro-choice group EMILY’s List and NextGen America, a group founded and funded by billionaire Tom Steyer, spending money to attack Morganelli.
On social media, Morganelli appeared highly critical of the liberal and progressive movements and took positions seemingly at odds even with the Democratic Party, a CNN KFile review reveals.
In a series of now-deleted tweets that are available on the Wayback Machine, Morganelli called on Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to resign, citing his “misguided liberalism.”
“Rahm Emanuel should immediately resign as Mayor. He is incapable of protecting his citizens. Misguided liberalism at work,” Morganelli wrote on January 3, 2017 in a tweet to Donald Trump’s twitter account.
Two days later, Morganelli again wrote that Emanuel should resign.
“Chicago is a mess. Rahm must resign. Obama should send in feds like he does when police use force,” he wrote.
On January 2, 2017 Morganelli sent a tweet blasting progressives, writing, “The progressives who believe they are so open to ideas are the least tolerant of anyone who disagrees with them.”
Morganelli told CNN’s KFile in a phone interview that he had other people working on his campaign who ran his Twitter account now, so he couldn’t speak for the deleted tweets, but said he stood by the sentiment.
“I do believe some progressives who believe that they want everyone to be tolerant of some things are very intolerant of other people’s opinions, so I do believe that,” he said. “I’ve seen it in action, personally.”
In November 2016, Morganelli also sent a series of tweets, which have been reported on in local media, offering praise to Trump.
“Thankful for your coming leadership. Waiting to hear from transition. Met you at Bedminister (sic) when I played in Member Guest,” he wrote on November 24, 2016.
“Pres-elect sent personal note to my son. I worked with Barletta and Kobach against illegal immigration. Pa. most senior DA,” he said in a November 20, 2016 tweet.
That same day he sent a tweet suggesting he was looking for a job in the Trump administration.
“Played M/G at Trump Nat. Met Pres with QB Mark Sanchez. I am Pa.most senior prosecutor waiting to hear from transition,” he said.
Morganelli told CNN he sent the tweets because he wanted Trump to succeed as President.
“These were after the election and many of us in the country hoped that Trump would be better than he is, he’s not doing a good job obviously and I was hoping – as many Americans did – I wished the president well. Those tweets were in like December and November and after he took – I don’t think you’ll find any tweets because listening to the inauguration speech which I thought was a disaster I just felt that his administration got off to a terrible start and has continued beyond that.”
However, a Facebook post from Morganelli after Trump’s inauguration suggested that he agreed with the initial travel ban from seven Muslim-majority countries. On January 30, 2017, Morganelli shared a story from the Washington Examiner that noted other immigration bans ordered by past presidents, writing, “I cannot recall if there were protests when President Obama issued an executive order banning immigration from certain countries?”
Morganelli’s stance on immigration has long put him to the right of the Democratic Party. He expressed his views in a tweet at Trump and then-nominee to be US Attorney General Jeff Sessions in January 2017.
“It is time to secure borders and get tough on crime,” he wrote.