Like just about any event or political happening that generates some buzz or controversy these days, the White House’s exchange of five Guantanamo Bay prisoners affiliated with the Taliban for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has not been short on the social media commentary.
With the commentary also comes the commentary on the commentary, and as Gawker notes on Wednesday, a smattering of Twitter users on the conservative side of the aisle who had originally voiced their support for bringing Bergdahl home eventually changed their tune and later criticized the Obama Administration’s move and/or Berghdal himself when allegations of his defection came to light.
Unfortunately for them, once your 140 characters are out in the Twitterverse, they’re up for grabs and anyone can find and ridicule them if they see fit. Blogger and comedian Matt Binder had a hand in digging up many of the tweets, which you can read on his account. Binder also runs a tumblr account called Public Shaming, on which he posts screenshots of people’s tweets relating to topical events, such as the push for a $15 minimum wage.
A few Republican politicians also reportedly deleted similar tweets as the controversy clouds began to swirl. The communications director for Nebraska Representative Lee Terry, for one, issued a statement saying a previous statement calling Bergdahl’s release “wonderful news” was taken down after the team learned of some “extremely troubling” things after the fact.
Meanwhile, conservative blogger Michelle Malkin’s website Twitchy caught an odd social media tactic from the White House side on Wednesday morning. Brandon Friedman, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, issued a series of tweets wondering whether Bergdahl’s platoon was “long on psychopaths and short on leadership,” which may have factored into Bergdahl’s desertion, and asked people to withhold judgement until an investigation is conducted. As Twitchy points out, however, Friedman eventually scrubbed the Twitter bio bearing his position within the Obama administration.
Yesterday, several members of Congress gathered for a private meeting on Capitol Hill to discuss the matter and some reportedly left feeling unsatisfied by the justification given for Congress being left in the dark about the prisoner swap, rather than being given 30 days notice. The senators were shown a video of Berghdal depicting his health condition, which Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) says was one of the administration’s concerns and factored into the decision to move quickly with the trade.