New York Senate Dem apologizes for suggesting GOP staffer kill herself, then blasts her as 'Twitter troll'
A Democratic state senator in New York apologized Tuesday for a tweet suggesting that a Republican legislative staffer kill herself -- before referring to her as "a Twitter troll" in an interview published hours later.
Kevin Parker, who represents a Brooklyn Senate district, initially tweeted "Kill yourself!" to Republican Senate aide Candice Giove after she accused Parker of misusing a Senate parking placard in Manhattan. Parker later deleted the initial tweet and apologized in another message to Giove, saying that he had "used a poor choice of words. Suicide is a serious thing and and [sic] should not be made light of."
However, in an interview with Politico, Parker lashed out at Giove again, saying: "She's been on the wrong side of history every single time. So why is anybody allowing this tempest in a teapot go on when she’s nothing but an Internet troll? She’s a Twitter troll."
According to Politico, Giove was a former staffer for the Independent Democratic Conference, a group of state senators who repeatedly allied themselves with Republicans before dissolving earlier this year. Six of the eight IDC members were defeated in primary elections, helping Democrats retake control of the chamber last month.
"Where was @Candicegiove when NYers voted for a #Democratic State Senate & progressive legislation like the Dream Act & CFE funding?" Parker tweeted Tuesday afternoon. "That’s right, working with the [IDC] appendage of the GOP."
Parker's office did not immediately respond to requests for comment by Fox News.
The Senate's Republican leader, Long Island Sen. John Flanagan said he was "angry and disappointed that Senator Parker would go after one of my employees, or any employee of the New York State Senate, in this way ... These words are beyond the pale and beneath the State Senate.
"There is simply no place for discourse like this in politics, in government, or anywhere," Flanagan added. "Actions have consequences, and as a member of the incoming Democrat Majority in the Senate, Kevin Parker should be reprimanded by his leadership immediately."
The Senate's incoming leader, Democrat Andrea Stewart-Cousins, released a statement welcoming Parker's apology.
"I was disappointed in Senator Parker's tweet," Stewart-Cousins wrote. "Suicide is a serious issue and should not be joked about in this manner. I am glad that he has apologized."
Parker was first elected to the state Senate in 2002. He was re-elected last month and was recently named the incoming chairman of the Senate Energy Committee.
Parker also made headlines last month after he introduced legislation that would require authorities to scrutinize the social media activity and online searches of applicants to carry a handgun. Licenses could be denied if investigators uncover threats of violence or terrorism or the use of racial or ethnic slurs.
The bill would require handgun applicants to turn over login information to allow investigators to look at three years’ worth of Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram postings. Google, Yahoo and Bing searches over the previous year also would be checked.
The proposal has drawn outrage from gun rights groups as well as free speech watchdogs and even some gun control advocates, who have said there are better alternatives to Parker's bill.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.