Former Texas Rep. Ron Paul has been attracting negative attention all day for a tweet he sent Monday morning regarding the death of former Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle at the hands of an Iraq War veteran. But get used to off-the-cuff Twitter activity from the former presidential candidate: Paul, 77, is now running his own Twitter feed, a spokesperson says.
"He runs it," said Campaign for Liberty communications director Megan Stiles, who is handling Paul's press requests since he retired. She clarified that Paul started handling his own tweets "since he left office."
"Chris Kyle's death seems to confirm that 'he who lives by the sword dies by the sword.' Treating PTSD at a firing range doesn't make sense," Paul tweeted on Monday. Kyle was shot and killed by Eddie Ray Routh, a veteran of the Iraq War who had post-traumatic stress disorder, at a shooting range in Texas.
The tweet outraged people on Twitter, particularly conservatives. Commentary editor John Podhoretz called it "appalling"; "you really are vile," tweeted Republican strategist Rick Wilson.
Paul's tweet seemed to prompt the return of the Ron Paul Newsletters Twitter feed, which was active during his presidential campaign and tweets quotes from the controversial newsletters published under his name in past decades that frequently included racist or homophobic passages (Paul and his aides have maintained that he wasn't the author of the newsletters). It had been lying dormant since March.
UPDATE: Paul posted this statement on his Facebook page on Monday evening:
As a veteran, I certainly recognize that this weekend's violence and killing of Chris Kyle were a tragic and sad event. My condolences and prayers go out to Mr. Kyle's family. Unconstitutional and unnecessary wars have endless unintended consequences. A policy of non-violence, as Christ preached, would have prevented this and similar tragedies. -REP