A Pennsylvania state lawmaker posted a mocking “welcome” to Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday, accompanied by a stiff middle-finger salute.
The post by state Rep. Brian Sims, a Democrat from Philadelphia, came as Pence was in town for a fundraising event for the Republican Governors Association, PhillyVoice reported. The event drew scores of protesters.
Sims, 39, who is Pennsylvania's first openly gay state legislator, apparently saw an opportunity to please his base of supporters.
“OFFICIAL WELCOME: @MikePenceVP let me be the first to officially welcome you to the City of Brotherly Love and to my District!” Sims’ Facebook and Twitter post read. “We’re a City of soaring diversity. We believe in the power of all people: Black, Brown, Queer, Trans, Atheist, & Immigrant. So…get bent, then get out!”
Social media reactions to Sims’ post fell along partisan lines, with some applauding his audacity and others criticizing what they saw as a lack of respect for the vice president, Philadelphia's FOX 29 reported.
“Thank you. More of this please. Anger is required for change,” one user wrote.
Another found it “disturbing that a publicly elected Representative finds this type of social media content appropriate.”
It also appeared to extend a trend on the political left of embracing vulgarity and profanity, exemplified by recent remarks about the Trump administration from comedian Samantha Bee and actor Robert De Niro.
Despite public backlash, Sims has not deleted the post. As of Wednesday evening it had received more than 5,000 retweets and 25,000 likes.
Sims has reputation for taking on Internet trolls.
Last year, when a Facebook user identified as “David,” posted something offensive on Sims’ page, Sims called David’s grandmother to tell her what her grandson had done.
“David, I can’t tell if you’re just a really dumb little boy or an angry bigot but I know for sure that you shouldn’t have posted your grandmother’s telephone number on your Facebook page,” Sims replied on the post. “She and I just had a very disappointing chat about you.”
The stunt earned Sims accolades.