When news hit Saturday that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, missing in Afghanistan since 2009, had been recovered safely via a prisoner exchange, there was much elation — until the release became a partisan issue, and Republicans took it back; Sarah Palin posted a lengthy rant about the release of Bergdahl to Facebook, despite publicly lamenting his captivity in the past.
Many Republicans had spoken of Bowe Bergdahl and his ordeal, praying for a safe return home to the U.S. But after his release was secured, the right became massively outraged — a development so new several Republicans were forced to scrub their remarks expressing relief at his rescue from social media accounts.
It would appear that many GOP lawmakers did not get the message about being angry and upset before they were able to post messages of happiness and relief to places such as Twitter and Facebook, most hastily rushing to blame “a staffer” for the sudden deletions.
Others claimed they were unable to obtain the “full story” on Bergdahl and the circumstances of his disappearance and capture prior to the surprise announcement Saturday — despite widespread coverage of the case in prominent outlets over the course of years.
Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) was one Republican to express his happiness at the release of Bowe Bergdahl before deleting the post, initially issuing a statement calling the missing soldier a “national hero,” and adding:
“A grateful nation welcomes the news of the return of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl… I have the pleasure of regularly speaking with our nation’s active duty military and veterans and I know that there is nothing more solemn than the pledge to never leave one of their own behind on the field of battle.”
A spokesman for Terry explained:
“We’ve heard and learned of some things that are extremely troubling in the last two days and we believed it was appropriate to take it down.”
While Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV) was also among the well-wishers Saturday, calling the update the “best news I’ve heard in a long time! #standwithbowe,” that tweet was later deleted.
A spokesperson for Rep. Amodei later clarified that the tweet was the GOP lawmaker “expressing happiness in the return of a POW, without knowing the terms of the release or consulting the congressman.”
The award for speed in backpedal might go to Iowa’s Jodi Ernst, a GOP candidate. Ernst initially tweeted:
“US Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl freed after being reported missing 5 yrs in Afghanistan. Thoughts & prayers go out to Sgt. Bergdahl & his family.”
Much like the other Republican politicians above, she deleted her Bowe Bergdahl tweet within 25 minutes — apparently the time needed by GOP members to get up to speed with all there is to know on the situation. Many of the posts were recovered via Politwoops.