A New Mexico congressman has parted ways with his new press secretary, who was connected to a controversial Twitter account and blog, just three days after she started.
On Tuesday, Rep. Steve Pearce’s (R-N.M.) communications director, Eric Layer, announced to reporters that Rebekah Stevens was coming on board.
Stevens anonymously tweeted under @PolitixFireball, with more than 40,000 followers, and wrote on a blog of the same name. The Santa Fe Reporter confirmed that Stevens was one of the pundits behind the accounts. The Twitter account was made private and the blog stopped publishing new posts after she joined Pearce’s office.
ProgressNow New Mexico combed through the posts, saying in a statement that Stevens was “well known for her myriad racist, xenophobic, and defamatory tirades against everyone from public school teachers to respected journalists to political campaign consultants to President Obama himself.” The group screen-captured a tweet in which PolitixFireball says to another user, “I know the Jews went up in smoke … I think you’re wrong re: the economy.”
“I can’t wait to see how excited Pearce’s colleagues in Congress will be to learn that his new hire has made a living attacking Republican leadership in the party, making light of Jews, and trolling reporters and Democrats across the country,” said Alex Curtas, research director for ProgressNow.
Pearce told the Albuquerque Journal on Wednesday that Stevens was behind the Twitter account and blog, and stressed that he had a “very frank and straightforward discussion” with the 24-year-old about what rhetoric isn’t acceptable in a congressional office.
“They are not things I would have said,” Pearce said. “She’s very aware she doesn’t speak for herself anymore. … She’s working in a bigger system, and we all work together here.”
He added that Democrats weren’t the only ones rubbed the wrong way by her hiring. “Republicans are making hay of it, too,” he said.
Stevens sent out six press releases on Wednesday and Thursday, before Pearce announced in a statement today that he accepted her resignation.
“I am proud to hire passionate, hardworking, and dedicated congressional staff out of New Mexico,” said Pearce. “When I hired Miss Stevens, I hoped she could transition from activist to become an asset to the people of New Mexico. It is now clear that major obstacles will prevent this. I asked for and accepted her resignation this morning. I hold myself and my staff to the highest level of accountability, and any distractions that hinder my service to New Mexicans must always be addressed.”
Today is also the last day of Layer, as he leaves to become vice president of communications at the Association of Commerce and Industry.