LINO LAKES, Minn. (KMSP) - When Congressman Tom Emmer's staff wrote about a visit to an alfalfa farmer in Wright County on social media, it was to update his constituents.
But they never expected the response they got from a city council member in his own district.
After the post appeared on Emmer's Facebook page on Monday, Lino Lakes Councilwoman Melissa Maher commented, "If I were you Emmer, I'd avoid people who have a lot of deadly objects at hand. selling us out was not a good plan for your future"---an apparent reference to the American Health Care Act, which Emmer voted for in the US House of Representatives last week.
Emmer's office says the post was threatening and demanded an apology but Maher says it wasn't meant to be taken literally.
"I'm just embarrassed. I'm humiliated I would even do that," Maher said outside her home in Lino Lakes. "It was just a foolish stupid thing to do late at night when I had insomnia and I'm just embarrassed."
After a constituent called her out on social media, Maher responded posting, "Total lack judgment on my part."
But Emmer says in our current political climate, Maher's comments crossed the line.
"An opinion is not 'Congressman you better watch your back because I hope people have some things that might do you harm.' That's not Minnesota nice under any definition and quite frankly, it’s not good for anyone," Congressman Emmer said.
For her part, Maher says she plans on apologizing to both to Emmer and her colleagues on the Lino Lakes City Council.
"I'm just chalking it up to a moment of extreme stupidity. We're all entitled to those," Maher said.
Emmer's office say this is the sixth threatening message on social media and it has sent to Capitol Police in Washington DC to investigate this year. But it’s the first involving an elected official.
Letter to Rep. Emmer
Maher also wrote the following letter to Rep. Emmer apologizing for the post:
"I am writing regarding the comment I left on your Facebook feed the early morning hours of May 9, 2017. I consider that comment to have been a terrible lapse in judgment on my part. I took my frustration with the current political climate out on you, and for that I apologize. I had no intention of personally threatening you. I am a firm believer in political dissent and civil discourse and I acknowledge that my post crossed the line of appropriateness.
"Please be assured that despite my position as a council member for the city of Lino Lakes, my comment was strictly my own and had no connection with the city, city staff, or any of my esteemed councilmembers. Given the fact that you have been a longtime friend of Mayor Reinert, I especially regret my post as I hold the Mayor in high regard.
"I understand that your office has certain processes with regards to incidents such as this. I am sorry that you've had to devote your resources to this matter when there are many other things demanding your attention. I am happy to cooperate with your office to resolve this matter."