A candidate for the state Senate has fired his campaign manager over what many are calling an anti-Semitic tweet.
Bill Wadsworth, Republican candidate for the 5th Senate District, said he has fired campaign manager Nicole Palmieri over a tweet that went up Tuesday. The post was directed at his opponent Derek Slap, and showed a photo of Slap with Senator Richard Blumenthal with the text “Even Dick isn’t safe from Slap’s money grabbing.”
In an interview with NBC Connecticut Thursday night, Wadsworth said he didn’t approve of the tweet or have any knowledge of it until we reached out.
“The hard fact of the matter is it certainly looks like it is anti-Semitic and I don’t approve of any activity in my campaign that supports any kind of activity like that,” Wadsworth said.
He added that he did not know Palmieri prior to her involvement in the campaign and that he immediately felt action had to be taken when he saw the tweet.
“I certainly apologize to Mr. Slap and anybody else involved in this because like I said, it’s not characteristic of the way that I run campaigns.”
The Jewish Federal Association of Connecticut (JFACT) decried the tweet as anti-Semitic and called upon Wadsworth to apologize. Both Blumenthal and Slap are Jewish.
“This type of stereotyping Jews as money grabbing is irresponsible and unacceptable. The use of anti-Semitic language and imagery as contained in this tweet is becoming normalized in our society and we must stand up and demand it stop,” their statement read in fact.
Slap said he was taken aback by the tweet and supported JFACT’s position.
“This type of imagery and wording doesn’t have a place, should not have a place in our politics. Hopefully it will be taken down and they will address JFact’s concerns,” he said.
Palmieri released the following statement on the situation
“I decided to step away from the campaign to not draw attention away from the serious issues facing voters next Tuesday. I’m shocked and saddened my tweet was used as a diversion from the issues at hand.”
Palmieri released another statement.
"The intent of my tweet was to draw a political contrast between my candidate and Mr. Slap during the final days of the campaign. I'm sickened at the implication that this tweet was motivated by any racial or religious bias. And I am saddened that people would rush to such judgement (sic) and believe that I would engage in such hurtful and awful speech. I am someone who has openly embraced people of all races, religions, ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds during my life and I will continue to do so. I hope we can move forward and focus on the important issues that are facing Connecticut," she said in the statement.
Slap said he appreciates Wadsworth’s response and hopes this truly was an issue where the candidate wasn’t engaged with the campaign, and he looks forward to focusing on issues that matter to the voters in the Fifth District.