It is very clear that the professor was expressing praise for a violence against Senator Paul. I don’t think he should be fired or reprimanded. He was just a guy on Twitter being a guy on Twitter. Whatever. What is aggravating is the denial and gas lighting he engages in after the fact. Just own it, prof. You made a stupid joke on Twitter that you now regret. Welcome to the club.
A UW-Madison professor apologized on Monday for a social media post that some saw as advocating violence against a U.S. senator.
The tweet, by Mike Wagner, a professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, was in response to a video posted on Twitter Sunday evening featuring Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky.
In the video, Paul encouraged people to “resist” guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on stemming the spread of COVID-19, such as wearing a mask. Paul also plugged amendments he plans to introduce that would defund any government agency that fails to return to work in person.
In his now-deleted post, Wagner wrote: “Where have you gone, Rand Paul’s neighbor, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you.”
Paul’s neighbor, Rene Boucher, tackled the senator in 2017, breaking several of Paul’s ribs. Boucher pleaded guilty to felony assault and was sentenced to eight months in prison and six months of home confinement.
Wagner removed the post before 10:30 a.m. Monday.
“I deleted a tweet that could be read as encouraging violence,” Wagner wrote. “I didn’t mean it that way, but I should know better than to say anything that could be misconstrued in a violent direction. I apologize for that.”