Offensive tweet from GOP candidate challenging Rep. Hayes receives bipartisan criticism
A western Connecticut congressional candidate is facing backlash over a tweet that some are calling sexual harassment.
The tweet came from Robert Hyde, one of three Republicans challenging Rep. Jahana Hayes. Hyde describes himself as a "pro-God" Marine veteran.
After Kamala Harris dropped out of the presidential race, Hyde tweeted, "She went down" – which was followed by explicit comments. Hyde removed the tweet today after News 12 reached out to him for comment.
Former Republican strategist Gayle Alberda says President Donald Trump's controversial comments make offensive tweets more common.
"Trump has kind of unleashed this new era of politics," she says. "Before 2016, that would have been kind of like the death of a campaign."
Criticism is coming in from both sides of the aisle. "That type of behavior on social media is completely unnecessary. I don't agree with it. It takes away from what Republicans are trying to do," said state GOP chairman J.R. Romano.
Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano released a statement saying, "This type of behavior and these words are flat out disgusting and morally reprehensible. I am calling on Mr. Hyde to step down as a candidate for office. His comments are beyond disgraceful and offensive and his actions are not representative of the Republican Party at all. He needs to remove himself as a candidate immediately. This is unacceptable behavior for anyone, let alone someone who is seeking to represent our state in Congress."
A spokesperson from Rep. Hayes' office responded, calling the tweet "disgusting" and that Hayes was "surprised there was no Republican rebuke." They continued saying, "The congresswoman herself is not going to give life to that kind of candidate and is committed to not running that type of race. She is busy doing the work the people of CT-05 elected her to do."
The Democrats' state chair Nancy Wyman, the former lieutenant governor, said, "On behalf of every woman in Connecticut, I'm calling on the Republican state chairman to not just condemn the social media posting, but to end Mr. Hyde's congressional bid. Hyde responded to the backlash in a tweet, where he did not respond to bipartisan calls for him to drop out of the race:
It's not the first time in recent years that first-time GOP hopefuls have stirred up controversy. Last year, a former candidate posted a racial slur about now-Attorney General William Tong. A few months later, a Middletown Republican sent out fliers with offensive Jewish stereotypes.