Gov. Kim Reynolds — photo courtesy of the Office of the Governor of Iowa
At her weekly press conference on Tuesday, Gov. Kim Reynolds offered an explanation for why she called Iowa liberals “unhinged” during a speech last month. Her explanation, however, didn’t address what she actually said during that speech, and didn’t match the explanation her campaign spokesperson had already provided for the remark.
“As we all know as we travel the state, the liberals are unhinged and they are out for us,” Reynolds said at an Oct. 21 fundraiser for her gubernatorial campaign.
On Tuesday, Reynolds said her remarks were not the result of what she has seen traveling the state, but were inspired by mean-spirited comments on social media.
In response to a journalist’s question about what she meant by “the liberals are unhinged,” Reynolds began by saying, “So, first of all, I’m the governor of everybody, so I want to make that clear. But I’m probably talking about a very small, minute population.”
But I’ll give you one example. Okay, so I have a personal social media account and I do a lot of — I try to — it’s really important to me to carve out time for my family and my grandchildren. They’re a big part of my life — they keep me real, they keep me grounded, they help me do a better job. And I post a picture of my grandchildren playing soccer, and the comments that were posted under a private social media account about my children — my grandchildren, excuse me — playing soccer, and something to the effect that, “You know, I hope they’re drinking the water and they have detrimental outcomes.” And I’m being really very nice in how I’m describing what those posts were.
Following the fundraiser speech, Little Village contacted the Reynolds campaign to ask who the governor was describing as an unhinged liberal, and in his response, campaign communications director Pat Garrett never mentioned Reynolds social media accounts. Instead, Garrett sent a collection of 31 links to news stories, blog posts and tweets.
Almost half the links weren’t about Iowans, and only one of the Iowa links involved behavior that can fairly be described as unhinged. In August a Waterloo man was arrested for tweeting threats to Sen. Joni Ernst, but politics weren’t involved. According to The Gazette, the man “claimed he had been sending tweets to Ernst since she was elected because he wanted her help to get a waiver to join the military. He told [FBI] agents he needed the waiver because of his criminal history and age.”
After explaining why she called Iowa liberals unhinged, Reynolds said, “There is no civil discourse left, and it’s really sad.” Asked who is responsible for improving the level of discourse, Reynolds replied, “We all are. We all are responsible.”