Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick was deluged Sunday morning with critical comments after a tweet he posted hours after the Orlando, Fla., mass shooting citing a Bible verse was seen as blaming the victims because they were gay.
But Patrick, who was on personal travel abroad, told the American-Statesman that, “for anyone to suggest that is irresponsible,” and that his every-Sunday morning tweets of scripture are selected ahead of time, “so graphics can be made up and scheduled to post in advance.”
The tweet, from Galatians 6:7 — “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” — was posted at 7 a.m.
“What happened last night is an unspeakable tragedy,” Patrick said. “My prayers go out to all the families of those killed and wounded.”
Shortly after making that comment, the tweet was taken down, about four hours after it had been posted.
“The post was designed and scheduled last Thursday,” Allen Blakemore, Patrick’s political advisor, said in a statement.
“We regret the unfortunate timing,” and it was removed, Blakemore said.
But Patrick critics were not accepting his explanation of the tweet and why it took four hours to delete it.
“Important point. Scheduled tweet or not, Patrick’s failure to delete it is contemptible,” Glenn Smith, director of the pro-Democratic Progress Texas political action committee.
“Hatred is a brood parasite nesting in American hearts at the urging of malicious, self-serving politicians who use hate to sell themselves,” Smith wrote in a follow-on tweet.
Joel Burns, a former Fort Worth city council member and well-known voice for LGBT rights, tweeted that Patrick should resign.
“That you target struggling kids and families of the murdered show how sick you are @DanPatrick. You are unfit. #resignDanPatrick It’s time,” Burns tweeted.
After the Patrick tweet was deleted, Burns tweeted, “1st tweet now removed but the inhuman insensitivity & hurt caused for 50+ devastated families remains. @DanPatrick is unfit for office.”
George Takei, the actor who played Mr. Sulu on the television show, “Star Trek,” who has become a gay rights activist in recent years, also tweeted that Patrick should resign: “TX Lt. Governor @DanPatrick, you are a disgrace to your state in this time of national sorrow. You should resign.”