This week, state Senator Dave Schultheis tweeted, “Don’t for a second think Obama wants what is best for U.S. He is flying the U.S. plane right into the ground at full speed. Let’s roll.”
Not long after, the Republican found himself facing criticism for comparing the hijackers behind the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to President Barack Obama. Left-leaning ColoradoPols re-posted the tweet. Talking Points Memo picked up the story. Soon The Denver Post was interviewing people who questioned Schultheis’ intent.
State Senate President Brandon Shaffer, a Longmont Democrat, calls Schultheis’ tweet “appalling” and has demanded a retraction, and Ed Kowalski, a director for the New York-based 9/11 Families for a Secure America, believes Schultheis was “clearly” referring to Flight 93 when he used the words of the passengers who fought to take back the ill-fated plane: “Let’s roll.”
Kowalski also disagrees with many of Obama’s policies but says, “Let’s not cheapen what happened on Sept. 11 by making random and or ill-fated comparisons to current policy.”
Schultheis explains that the tweet, which was sent Tuesday, was meant to highlight his disagreement with Obama’s fiscal policies, not to compare the president to a 9/11 terrorist: “‘Let’s roll.’ It’s a comment people use all the time any more. ‘Let’s get going. Let’s move on. Let’s make major changes,'” he says. “I can see it now. But, you’re busy doing jillions of things during the day. You sometimes don’t analyze every single word.”
A visit to Schultheis’ Twitter feed this morning results in the message: “This person has protected their tweets.”