It’s been another tough week for State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf.
Two days after she was ridiculed for criticizing the “big words” used in an editorial co-authored by former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Schultz, the Obama administration staffer engaged in a long, drawn-out Facebook battle with a family friend who posted an article critical of the incident, according to The Daily Caller.
The skirmish came at an inopportune time for Harf: on a Friday afternoon, in the middle of the workday.
Harf’s Facebook friend, William M. Todd, posted a Daily Caller article that quoted New York Times columnist David Brooks mocking Harf’s “big words” criticism, adding a comment: “Team Obama bans polysyllabic words!!”
In a radio interview later that day with conservative author and lawyer Hugh Hewitt, Brooks called Harf’s response “the lamest rebuttal” possible.
“Are we in nursery school?” the columnist said. “No polysyllabic words?”
Taxpayers may expect federal employees to have better things to do than spend their day arguing on social media, but Harf’s calendar was apparently clear that day, because she responded twice to assail Todd for posting “a hurtful comment and a mean-spirited story.”
“Bill – I’m not sure how you could think this article accurately portrays me or how I view complicated foreign policy issues, given how long you’ve personally known me and my family,” Harf wrote in her first response on Facebook. “Does your hatred of this administration matter so much to you that it justifies posting a hurtful comment and a mean-spirited story about the daughter of someone you’ve known for years and used to call a friend? There’s a way to disagree with our policies without making it personal. Growing up in Ohio, that’s how I was taught to disagree with people. I hope your behavior isn’t an indication that’s changed.”
Others jumped in to defend Todd.
“Marie, your job performance has been highlighted by quite a few PR slips,” one friend wrote. “As an Ohioan, you should know that we don’t give someone a pass simply for being a Buckeye.”
A short time later, Todd referred in another comment to Harf’s “condescending and, almost childish criticism” of the Kissinger/Schultz editorial.
“Despite our disagreements over the policies of this Administration, I have tried to avoid even discussing your role in communicating those mistaken ideas,” he wrote, adding that he was compelled to respond because he admired Kissinger.
Harf wasn’t content to let Todd have the last word, furthering the debate by posting the full transcript of her remarks about Kissinger and Schultz.
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