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Twitter makes ex-Illinois Rep. Walsh take down Dallas tweet ‘Watch out Obama’

  • ABACA PRESS / MCCLATCHY TRIBUNE / MARCH 2012

    In this 2012 file photo, U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) walks back to his office in Washington, D.C.

Former Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh declared “This is now war” and called for President Barack Obama to “watch out” in a Twitter post reacting to the Dallas shooting that killed five police officers and injured seven.

“This is now war. Watch out Obama. Watch out black lives matter punks. Real America is coming after you,” he wrote in the tweet, which has since been deleted.

In subsequent tweets that remained posted as of early today, he called the shooters “uneducated black thugs” and blamed Obama and the Black Lives Matter movement for the officers’ deaths.

“I wasn’t calling for violence, against Obama or anyone. Obama’s words and BLM’s deeds have gotten cops killed,” he tweeted.

An unrepentant Walsh stood by his tweets this morning, saying in a Tribune interview: “Of course I didn’t mean ‘let’s go kill Obama and Black Lives Matter.’ I was not trying to incite violence against Obama and Black Lives Matter. That’s crazy and stupid and wrong.”

He added: “It would end my career and it’s wrong. I would never say anything as reprehensible as that.”

Walsh, a talk radio host who lives in suburban Chicago, said he has had a sleepless night because of death threats against him on social media. He said he had asked for local police protection.

“You know how social media is,” he said. “I put out some stuff that I believe. And I’ve had people on the left hating on me and threatening to kill me on Twitter and Facebook all night.”

Walsh said some people on social media had called for the Secret Service or FBI to arrest him — including singer John Legend, who tweets at johnlegend.

“Joe Walsh needs to be arrested for threatening our President. STFU walshfreedom,” reads a tweet from Legend, who has nearly 8 million Twitter followers.

Speaking at about 8 a.m. Chicago time today, Walsh said he had not been contacted by federal authorities and had no idea if he would be hearing from the Secret Service. “If I did, I would give them the same answer I would give you: I would not encourage any violence against the president of the United States or anybody.”

Walsh said what he was trying to convey in his tweets is this: “There’s a war against our cops in this country, and I think Obama has fed that war and Black Lives Matter has fed that war. … Obama’s words and the deeds of Black Lives Matter have gotten cops in this country killed.”

When asked about Walsh today, Secret Service spokesman Robert Hoback said, “We are not providing any comment on that.”

The controversial tweet was posted at 10:56 p.m. Thursday.

According to Walsh, it was up for an hour or so when he received word electronically from Twitter that it had suspended his account.

“They said the tweet might look like it might incite violence,” he said.

He said he was allowed to reopen his account only if the tweet was deleted, which he said had happened without him taking action.

“Twitter, Facebook — they’re all liberal,” he said. “They’re private companies and they got their standards that I have to follow if I want to be on Twitter. It is what it is.”

“The pre-condition for me reopening my account was they had to delete that tweet,” Walsh said.

Twitter’s rules state there are limits on what content and behavior it allows and that failure to comply with its rules “may result in the temporary locking and/or permanent suspension of account(s).”

Several types of messages and images are prohibited, including direct or indirect “violent threats.”

“You may not make threats of violence or promote violence, including threatening or promoting terrorism,” its rules state.

Walsh, 54, has a history of controversial comments. He rode a tea party wave into Congress in 2010 with an upset against Democratic Rep. Melissa Bean, an incumbent, to represent Chicago’s north and northwest suburbs

He held the 8th Congressional District seat for two years, losing in 2012 to Democrat Tammy Duckworth.

He said he planned to broadcast his radio shows today as usual.

He said he has a syndicated radio show, “The Joe Walsh Program,” that airs from 2 to 4 p.m. Chicago time in New York, Denver, Phoenix and Dallas.

His Chicago broadcast, “The Joe Walsh Show,” airs from 5 to 7 p.m. on AM 560 The Answer.

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©2016 Chicago Tribune

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    • I have no idea if he’s racist or not but while his rhetoric may echo the initial sentiments of many, angry at these police killings, it cannot be accepted or even tolerated. It’s natural to feel anger, and want revenge, but the individual responsible is dead, and he alone was guilty of the crime. And as an elected leader, Walsh has a higher degree of responsibility to remain calm and discourage the same type of inflammatory talk that he has been posting himself.

  • Walsh is a spokesman for the vile racist Tea Party and far right Republicans, who have been blaming Obama for everything. They have been using the race baiting button for years, now with the Black Lives Matter, and the assassination of police in Dallas and elsewhere, you are witnessing that racism and hatred works both ways

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