I was shocked when someone forwarded me an Aug. 20 tweet by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, which featured my picture among those of other West Virginia delegates to the Democratic National Convention for presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Morrisey’s tweet ominously directed his supporters to remember us, as if we were enemies of the state, for, in Morrisey’s words, “supporting a radical ticket.” Morrisey’s personal attack on private citizens, which eerily resembles the disgraceful tactics of President Donald Trump, has no place in West Virginia political discourse.
I am not certain what exactly Morrisey intended when he posted our pictures and implored citizens to remember our faces. But based on the recent and painfully visible embrace of Trump and his acolytes, such as Morrisey, by violent members of the radical right, I can tell you that his tweet concerns me and my family.
I recognize that Morrissey retains his First Amendment right to disagree with Joe Biden and support Trump. But targeting private citizens for doing what they perceive to be their patriotic duty is totally beyond the pale of fair political comment and decency.
Morrisey’s tweet also raises the larger issue of his campaign’s incessant focus on his allegiance to Trump — as if the West Virginia attorney general’s role and duties have any relation to supporting the president on federal policy. Apparently, Mr. Morrisey needs reminding that his bid to win a U.S. Senate seat was unsuccessful, and that he is currently running for reelection as the top legal officer for the state of West Virginia.
I know a little about the proper role of the West Virginia attorney general. I worked in the Attorney General’s Office twice, including a term as chief deputy under former attorney general Mario Palumbo. I can tell you that Morrisey interjecting himself into a variety of federal issues is decidedly not what the attorney general is constitutionally obligated to do.
Frankly, Morrisey has gone beyond merely exceeding his constitutional responsibilities, as he has actively used his public office to hurt thousands of our friends, neighbors and family members in this state.
While I often disagree with Morrisey’s positions, I recognize that he has pursued some litigation that is politically popular with some West Virginians. However, leading the assault on the Affordable Care Act, which has benefited West Virginians more than the citizens of any other state, is totally inexplicable. The only possible conclusion to draw from that effort is that Morrisey’s allegiance to whatever Trump and his cult of personality dictates is more important that the health and lives of hundreds of thousands of West Virginians.
I do agree with one statement that Morrisey included in his tweet: “West Virginia deserves strong reasonable voices w[ith] solid experience who will protect our state.” This is why I support Joe Biden for president. And I recommend that all West Virginians reject Trump and his sycophants, such as Morrisey, for the divisive fear-mongers they are.