Somewhere out there is a list of actions that anyone elected to public office should never do. Telling someone to kill themselves in a tweet is definitely, specifically, on that list.
On Tuesday, Democratic New York State Sen. Kevin Parker tweeted from his official, verified account that directive to Candice Giove, the deputy communications director for the New York Senate Republican caucus, after Giove tweeted that the senator appeared to be misusing his “official Senate business” parking placard. The issue was first brought to the Senate’s attention last week, when a Twitter user photographed a vehicle blocking a Manhattan bike lane while using Parker’s placard.
On Tuesday morning, Giove quote-tweeted the original post explaining she had discovered that the placard belonged to Parker. She also said that the car using Parker’s placard wasn’t registered to the placard itself.
“So he either used it in another car or gave it to someone to use, both of which are not permitted,” Giove wrote.
Parker, however, had other thoughts on the matter. “Kill yourself!” he responded, in a now-deleted tweet.
Predictably, Parker’s tweet caused a bit of a stir.
Parker—who was accused of assault by an aide in 2008, and convicted of a misdemeanor in 2010 after breaking a New York Post photographer’s camera—appears to be trying to make amends, tweeting under an hour later to Giove that he apologizes for telling her to kill herself and that he “used a poor choice of words.” A bit of an understatement, for sure.
In a call to Parker’s Albany office, a woman who identified herself as Parker’s executive assistant expressed surprise and said she was was not aware of the tweet sent from Parker’s account, and said that our request for comment would be forwarded to Parker’s chief of staff.
We also requested comment from Giove over the incident and to inquire about potential ramifications Parker may face for his parking placard abuse. We’ll update this post if we hear back from either.
Update, 2:06 p.m. ET: Following the publication of this story, New York Senate Democratic leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins sent a statement to Splinter denouncing Parker’s tweet. “I was disappointed in Senator Parker’s tweet,” she said. “Suicide is a serious issue and should not be joked about in this manner. I am glad that he has apologized.”
Update, 3:53 p.m. ET: In an apology addendum of neck-breaking proportions, Parker, speaking to the New York Daily News shortly after taking responsibility for his tweet, called the situation a “tempest in a teapot” and criticized Giove for working for the Senate GOP. He went on to refer to Giove as “nothing but an internet troll,” and that to call her “anything more” would be “fake news.”
“At the end of the day, she is someone who continues to represent the forces of evil and is on the wrong side of history for every important issue facing this state,” Parker told the Daily News. “Even though I probably used the wrong words, does anyone ask her why she spends her day trolling individual senators instead of trying to get her conference on the right message that is in-line with the values of the people of the state of New York?”