A former Obama administration national security spokesman apologized Wednesday after mocking U.S. Sen. Rand Paul for being assaulted by a neighbor in an attack that left Paul seriously injured.
Tommy Vietor lashed out at the Kentucky Republican after the senator shared a letter from the FBI confirming that Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, the love couple removed from Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation over bias against President Donald Trump, still have top security clearances.
"You are a shameless hack and an idiot. Stop attacking public servants. Start doing a better job not getting beat up by your neighbor," Vietor wrote to Paul in a since-deleted tweet.
The former official, who now co-hosts the “Pod Save America” podcast with other former Obama administration staffers, was referring to the incident last year when the senator’s neighbor entered his property and tackled him from behind, forcing him to the ground. Paul had problems breathing as the incident left him with six broken ribs.
Backlash shortly followed Vietor’s distasteful remark, with many criticizing him for blaming the senator for being assaulted.
“Really bad look for @TVietor08, and almost inexplicably so -- how is it Rand Paul's fault that his crazed neighbor brutally assaulted and injured him?” one Twitter user wrote.
“Is it cool for a former Obama national security spokesman to taunt a senator about getting attacked, or nah? The internet is forever,” seconded James Hasson, a contributor to the Federalist.
In the wake of the criticism, Vietor deleted the comment and issued an apology to the senator, reading: “I shouldn't have made fun of you getting assaulted by your neighbor. It was classless and I apologize.”
But the second part of the half-hearted apology that called Paul “pathetic” and “hackish” made people question whether Vietor actually meant to apologize, prompting another round of backlash.
“Once you use the word ‘but’ it confirms this is not an apology,” wrote a Twitter user, slamming Vietor.
“A sincere apology does not include any rationalization for the incident requiring said apology,” wrote another.