Former congressman criticized for tweet many believe directly threatened President Obama

People across the country were shocked, outraged, and deeply saddened by the coordinated attacked on police officers in Dallas during a protest against police violence on Thursday night that left five law enforcement officials dead and six more wounded. As thousands upon thousands reacted on social media, one tweet in particular has drawn considerable attention.

Shortly after the shooting, former Republican congressman and current conservative radio host Joe Walsh tweeted, and then deleted, what many have construed as a direct threat against President Barack Obama.

Walsh’s tweet quickly engendered significant blowback from people who were, understandably, pretty touchy about things that could be read as encouraging people to commit acts of violence against public officials.

In the face of criticism, Walsh, who represented a district in the northwest Chicago suburbs from 2011 to 2013, deleted the tweet and posted a defense of himself in its place, insisting he didn’t intend his original message to be read as a threat.

Even though Walsh walked back that particular tweet, his other missives labeling Obama as personally responsible for the anti-police violence in Dallas remained up.

In a press briefing held in Warsaw, Poland, Obama, who was in the country for a NATO summit called the attack, “vicious, calculated and despicable.”

“As I told [Dallas] Mayor [Mike] Rawlings, I believe that I speak for every American when I say that we are horrified over these events and that we stand united with the people and the police department in Dallas,” the president continued.

While many have expressed anger about Walsh’s comment, there is always another option.

Aaron Sankin

Aaron Sankin

Aaron Sankin is a former Senior Staff Writer at the Daily Dot who covered the intersection of politics, technology, online privacy, Twitter bots, and the role of dank memes in popular culture. He lives in Seattle, Washington. He joined the Center for Investigative Reporting in 2016.