AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller apologized Tuesday after his official Twitter account briefly posted — then deleted — a tweet that used an obscenity to refer to Hillary Clinton.
The Republican is no stranger to past social media controversy. But a Miller spokesman is calling this posting inadvertent.
The account posted a purported presidential poll from Pennsylvania showing Donald Trump with 44 percent, one percentage point better than Clinton’s 43. Rather than refer to the Democratic presidential nominee by name, though, the tweet used sexually explicit, derogatory term for women. It concluded, “Go Trump Go!”
The tweet was deleted within 10 minutes. Miller campaign spokesman Todd Smith originally said the account had been hacked. But a series of tweets later explained: “The campaign was retweeting information on Twitter today and inadvertently retweeted a tweet that they were not aware contained a derogatory term.”
“The tweet was taken down as soon as possible,” it continued. “Commissioner Miller finds the term vulgar and offensive and apologizes to anyone who may have seen it.”
Smith said by phone that “a member of our digital team used cut and paste and was not aware that it did not say `Trump-Clinton.”‘
An outspoken Trump supporter, Miller’s Twitter bio describes himself as a “deplorable.” Clinton once derided Trump supporters as a “basket of deplorables.”
Trump in August named Miller to a list of agricultural advisers to his campaign.
Miller has caused social media stirs before. A later-deleted post from his campaign Facebook page in August 2015 appeared to endorse a nuclear bombing of “the Muslim world.” Then, in November, another Facebook post from Miller compared Syrian refugees to rattlesnakes.
A former state legislator and champion rodeo calf-roper, Miller was recently investigated by the Texas Department of Public Safety after The Houston Chronicle reported that he used taxpayer money to travel to Oklahoma last year to apparently receive a “Jesus shot,” or anti-inflammatory injection meant to reduce chronic pain.
Miller reimbursed the state more than $1,000 but declined to say whether he got the injection. In September, prosecutors announced that he wouldn’t face charges, saying “criminal intent would be difficult to prove.”
Even before Miller could post Tuesday’s apology, the Texas Democratic Party expressed outrage, with Executive Director Crystal Perkins saying, “Texas families deserve better than this kind of disgusting language from their elected officials.”
“It’s not about one tweet, it’s about a consistent pattern where the Republican Party fails to show even the most basic sense of human decency,” Perkins said in a statement. “Commissioner, you’re an embarrassment to Texas families and our great state.”
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