New York Times contributor loses think tank job over tweet suggesting Biden should 'lynch Mike Pence'

Will Wilkinson said the tweet was 'error of judgment' meant to convey 'sharp sarcasm'

A contributing opinion writer for The New York Times was fired from his think tank job Thursday over a tweet that jokingly suggested former Vice President Mike Pence be lynched in order to unify the country. 

Now-former Niskanen Center Vice President for Research Will Wilkinson raised eyebrows Wednesday night when he offered some tongue-in-cheek advice for President Biden following his inaugural address call for unity.

"If Biden really wanted unity, he'd lynch Mike Pence," Wilkinson tweeted. 

On Thursday, Wilkinson deleted the tweet and issued an apology. 

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"Last night I made an error of judgment and tweeted this. It was sharp sarcasm, but looked like a call for violence. That's always wrong, even as a joke," Wilkinson wrote. "It was especially wrong at a moment when unity and peace are so critical. I'm deeply sorry and vow not to repeat the mistake."

Wilkinson has since locked his account from public viewing. 

The apology was not good enough for the Niskanen Center, which said in a statement that it "appreciates and encourages interesting and provocative online discourse.

"However, we draw the line at statements that are, or can in any way be interpreted as condoning or promoting violence. As such, the Niskanen Center has, with a heavy heart, parted ways with Will Wilkinson. We thank him for his valuable contributions to the organization and wish him success in his future endeavors."

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A Times spokesperson told Fox News, "Advocating violence of any form, even in jest, is unacceptable and against the standards of The New York Times. We’re reassessing our relationship with Will Wilkinson."

According to his page on the Times' website, Wilkinson contributed three op-eds to the newspaper in 2020. His most recent piece, published in late November, attempted to explain why "so many Americans voted for Trump."