A Kentucky congressman caused widespread outrage after the Republican posted a Christmas photo that showed him and seven members of his family brandishing large assault rifles, just days after a high school massacre in Michigan.
Rep. Thomas Massie tweeted the photo of him, his wife and their five kids hoisting assault rifles in front of a Christmas tree on Saturday.
‘Merry Christmas!,’ Massie captioned the photo, alongside a Christmas tree emoji.
‘PS. (SIC) Santa, please bring ammo,’ he added, followed by a gift emoji.
Massie’s photo, which accrued 31.4K likes, 4,826 retweets and 17.7K quote tweets within five hours of being posted, was criticized as being particularly tone deaf in the wake of yet another deadly high-profile school shooting, where four students were killed and seven people were injured, including a teacher.
Pictured: the Christmas photo in question, showing Massie and his family armed with assault rifles in front of a Christmas tree
‘Merry Christmas!,’ Massie captioned the photo on Twitter, alongside a Christmas tree emoji, pictured. ‘PS. (SIC) Santa, please bring ammo,’ he added, followed by a gift emoji
The school shooting on Tuesday at Oxford High School was allegedly carried out by 15-year-old student Ethan Crumbley, whose parents James and Jennifer Crumbley were charged with involuntary manslaughter on Saturday after giving him access to a gun.
Shortly after Massie posted the provocative photo, the father of a Parkland, Florida school shooting victim made and appearance on CNN to discuss the Oxford tragedy.
Manuel Oliver, whose son Joaquin ‘Guac’ Oliver was one of 17 students and faculty members murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida in 2018, spoke about Massie’s photo and the insensitivity of it at a time where gun-related tragedies have become a regular occurrence.
‘That’s a huge part of the problem,’ Oliver said of Massie’s photo.
‘Someone elected leaders like this one that think that — I don’t know if they’re trying to be ironic, funny, or what — but it’s the worst taste ever. … It’s a very nasty post.’
‘Since we are sharing family photos, here are mine. (This) is last photo that I ever took of Jaime, the other is where she is buried because of the Parkland school shooting,’ one comment read
Rep. Thomas Massie, pictured, holds up an iPad with a video of January 6 playing at a House Judiciary Committee hearing at the US Capitol on October 21, 2021
His sentiments were echoed by many Twitter users.
‘The students aren’t even buried yet in Michigan from school shooting but this GOP rep wants you to know he won’t let a little thing like kids being murdered to stop him from celebrating guns,’ tweeted Dean Obeidallah.
‘I’m pro second amendment, but this isn’t supporting right to keep and bear arms, this is a gun fetish,’ wrote Adam Kinzinger, a Republican congressman from Illinois.
‘@FBI i would like to report the next group of mass murders,’ one user tweeted.
‘Alexa, show me everything that’s wrong with America in one photo,’ Jeff Tiedrich commented.
‘Disgusting. And you’re all so brainwashed, you don’t see how deeply disturbing this is,’ another user tweeted.
Shortly after Massie posted the provocative photo, the father of a Parkland, Florida school shooting victim made and appearance on CNN to discuss the Oxford tragedy
‘Alexa, show me everything that’s wrong with America in one photo,’ Jeff Tiedrich commented
‘Disgusting. And you’re all so brainwashed, you don’t see how deeply disturbing this is,’ another user tweeted
‘@FBI i would like to report the next group of mass murders,’ one user tweeted
‘MORE OF THIS,’ American alt-right and alt-lite political activist, television correspondent Jack Posobiec tweeted of Massie’s controversial photo
‘Since we are sharing family photos, here are mine. One is the last photo that I ever took of Jaime, the other is where she is buried because of the Parkland school shooting,’ replied Fred Guttenberg on Twitter.
‘The Michigan school shooter and his family used to take photos like yours as well.’
However, alt-right political activist and television correspondent Jack Posobiec applauded the tweet.
‘MORE OF THIS,’ Posobiec tweeted.
Meanwhile, Massie is far from the only politician to find themselves in hot water recently for promoting pictures of their family while armed.
Nevada gubernatorial candidate Michele Fiore, 51, who launched her campaign with an ad of her blasting beer bottles, was found in 2015 to have sent out a Christmas card of her family holding pistols and semi-automatics, including her five-year-old grandson Jake who held a Walther p22
In 2015, Fiore sent out a Christmas card of her family holding pistols and semi-automatics, including her five-year-old grandson Jake, who held a Walther p22; also pictured are Fiore’s mother, Lili, daughters Sheena and Savannah and their husbands, David and Kyle; as well as five of her now seven grandchildren, Jake, twins Morrigan & Mara, Jayden and Jemma
Fiore again posing with her two daughters to promote the protection of second amendment rights
She defended the image saying: ‘If you look real close, you’ll see that his finger is not on the trigger.
‘That five-year-old grandson of mine has total trigger control.’
‘I think giving firearms as a present and getting firearms as a present is a great present, and I think because Christmas is a family affair, our ultimate responsibility is to protect and make sure our family is safe.’
The Republican has also voiced support for the Proud Boys militia, announced her plan to run at a news conference in October, and followed the formal announcement with a dramatic campaign video ad.
In the video, Fiore comes out of a pick-up truck with a Trump 2024 bumper sticker, then touts her gun and status as a Washington outsider who was an early supporter of former President Donald Trump.