The employer of a West Virginia lawmaker says it’s investigating after he said on social media that presidential candidate Hillary Clinton should be publicly executed.
Delegate Michael Folk, R-Berkeley, tweeted to Clinton late Friday afternoon that she should be “should be tried for treason, murder, and crimes against the US Constitution... then hung on the Mall in Washington, DC.”
United Airlines, which employs Folk as a commercial pilot, tweeted that they are looking into the situation.
“We are definitely aware, and are investigating this,” the airline responded to a Twitter user who asked them about it. “Thanks for letting us know.”
Folk said Saturday that he wrote the tweet after watching a video of Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah,, head of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, ask Charles McCullough, the inspector general of the intelligence community, to see classified emails Clinton is alleged to have had on a private email server. McCullough explained that he couldn’t show the emails to Congress without getting permission from the agency that owns the information.
Folk said if a private person had done what Clinton did they would be put in prison -— which contradicts what FBI Director James Comey said on July 5 when announcing the decision not to charge Clinton.
Comey, a Republican who was a deputy attorney general under President George W. Bush before being named FBI director by President Barack Obama, said the FBI’s “judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case,” although he said Clinton had been “extremely careless” with her emails.
“The mention of hanging and implication of murder should never, ever be acceptable. To think that a person in a leadership position in our state can say these types of things is baffling and should not be tolerated,” West Virginia Democratic Party Chairwoman Belinda Biafore said in a statement. “Folk’s actions should deem him as unfit to serve and Speaker Tim Armstead should take action if Folk doesn’t resign.
The Democratic statement also said, “Such rhetoric has been on the rise within the Republican Party on a state and national level and has become increasingly dangerous.”
Folk said his tweet was hyperbolic.
“What I called for is for her to be tried and the maximum penalty for treason is death,” Folk said. “Technically it’s not death by hanging...”
Folk said his employer had not contacted him about the tweet as of Saturday afternoon. He defended his tweet as free speech.
“People do wrong they need to be held accountable,” he said. “And exercising a First Amendment right is not necessarily doing wrong.”
In light of Folk’s tweet, The Democratic Coalition Against Trump, a grassroots organization against Republican candidate Donald Trump, is calling for Folk’s resignation.
Executive director Nate Lerner said coalition members have been contacting the state Republican Party demanding he resign. They are also encouraged to tweet at United Airlines and sign a petition about the matter.
Calls to Conrad Lucas, chairman of the state Republican Party, and Republican Tim Armstead, speak of the West Virginia House of Delegates, were not immediately returned Saturday afternoon.
Reach Lori Kersey at firstname.lastname@example.org, 304-348-1240 or follow @LoriKerseyWV on Twitter.