As if having a completely unqualified person taking the helm of the country wasn’t bad enough, the ineptitude and hatred consistently exemplified by President Donald Trump has apparently been extended to include the staff of at least one federal agency. Much in the same way yawns can be contagious, so, too, apparently, can insensitive, sophomoric rudeness, as Housing and Urban Development staffer Lynne Patton showed Wednesday night when she mocked the physical appearance of White House correspondent April Ryan.
Trump has routinely relied on Twitter to spread his messages of hate, and Patton took a page right out of the president’s handbook when she hashtagged Ryan by calling her “#MissPiggy.” Perhaps what makes this case more egregious than [some of] the president’s past social media flubs is that Patton, like Ryan, is African-American, continuing in the Trump administration’s long history of blaspheming Black women.
While Patton, who would soon delete the tweet sent from her personal account, ultimately apologized, the damage was already done. Worse yet, for Patton at least, was the indelible digital footprint of the hateful, bullying tweet being immortalized in a screen shot captured by CBS News reporter Jacqueline Alemany.
It was unclear if Patton would be disciplined for her social media recklessness. HUD spokesperson and Director of Communications Raphael “Raffi” Williams did not immediately respond to multiple messages from NewsOne seeking comment. However, and ironically, he does have a tweet pinned to the top of his Twitter timeline that says HUD’s public affairs team “are some of the best in the business.” (Editor’s note: It should be noted that beneath that tweet is a series of others disparaging NewsOne’s coverage of HUD Secretary Ben Carson, chiding the company’s financial health, mocking a NewsOne writer and calling out the web site for not contacting him before the story was published.)
The irony of a staffer for a federal agency under Trump committing a social media failure shouldn’t be lost, as the current first lady’s stated White House mission to confront cyberbullying has yet to get off the ground in more than a year since the president was inaugurated.
What could be the most problematic, and, sadly, the most expected, is the fact that Patton, in her mea culpa tweet, insisted that “No one from this Administration contacted me” about her post. That apparent lack of reaction and oversight from her superiors and peers alike may only enable her to do more of the same anger-inspired cyberbully-tweeting, albeit in a more toned down manner that may not compel her to delete the potential future posts out of embarrassment.
But then again, because Carson – you know, the former neurosurgeon with no experience in politics who faithfully defends the president’s racism, sexism and overall hatred (even against the himself!) while presiding over an agency reportedly being sued for allegedly not complying with Freedom of Information Act requests that might “cast the agency or HUD Secretary Ben Carson in a negative light” – leads HUD at Trump’s request, are we really surprised at any of this?