A tweet from Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s verified account on Sunday featured an image mocking the Democratic district attorney central to an indictment against Perry charging abuse of power. Perry deleted the tweet, saying he did “not condone” the message.
The controversial tweet featured an unflattering mock-up image of Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, who was convicted of drunk driving in April 2013. After the incident Rick Perry insisted Lehmberg to resign, threatening otherwise to veto funding for her office.
The tweet’s caption read: "I don't always drive drunk at 3x the legal blood alcohol limit... But when I do, I indict Gov. Perry for calling me out about it. I am the most drunk Democrat in Texas."
It is yet unclear whether Perry himself actually posted the controversial tweet, which was later deleted.
— Evan Smith (@evanasmith) September 1, 2014
"A tweet just went out from my account that was unauthorized. I do not condone the tweet and I have taken it down," the tweet from Perry’s account said.
A tweet just went out from my account that was unauthorized. I do not condone the tweet and I have taken it down.
— Rick Perry (@GovernorPerry) September 1, 2014
The Governor’s office did not return AP’s request for comment.
Perry, a Republican, vetoed $7.5 billion in funding for Lehmberg’s office - the state’s Public Integrity Unit, which prosecutes public corruption - when she refused to resign. This action eventually led to a grand jury indictment of Perry in August.
In April 2013, Lehmberg pleaded guilty in her drunk driving case and was sentenced to 45 days in jail and a $4,000 fine under a plea agreement. Her driver's license was also suspended for 180 days.
Despite the incident she kept her job and became one of the most noticeable opponents of Rick Perry in Texas. However her office didn't indict Perry. The grand jury investigation was led by San Antonio special prosecutor Michael McCrum, who was assigned by a Republican judge.
Perry has pleaded not guilty, calling the charges against him a political ploy. His legal team has asked the judge overseeing the case to dismiss the indictment, claiming the law being used against him is unconstitutionally vague.
One Texas journalist pointed out that Perry’s staff claimed in 2011 that he was the only person who controlled his Twitter account.
The image and phrasing of the disparaging tweet are a play on the "The Most Interesting Man In The World" beer commercials, which have since become an Internet meme.