Sen. Gretchen Hoffman's bogus tweet about mental health "idiots and imbeciles" [VIDEO]

Categories: Politics

gretchen hoffman.jpg
Sen. Gretchen Hoffman twisted Sen. Barb Goodwin's words beyond recognition via Twitter.
Republican state Sen. Gretchen Hoffman may be facing an ethics probe, after tweeting that DFL Sen. Barb Goodwin had disparaged the mentally ill as "idiots and imbeciles."

Goodwin said nothing of the sort. She was actually protesting Republican cuts to the Health and Human Services budget yesterday evening, and at one point she reminded her colleagues that they didn't want to return to the days when the mentally ill were treated like society's dreck.

And now there's a trail of video and tweets (below) that show Goodwin's real speech, the fiction that Hoffmann spat out on Twitter, and how her tweet was picked up by the GOP echo chamber.

"The way these state institutions used to be, they were called 'institutions for 'idiots, imbeciles and the insane,'" Goodwin said. "That's what it said right on the hospital, 'idiots, imbeciles and the insane.'"

Sen. Warren Limmer interrupted her to complain about "trips down memory lane" and "labels on hospitals," and then she finished.

"We can't know where w're going until we know where we've been so we don't make the same mistakes again Sen. Limmer, so I hope you understand that."

Here's that video:

Hoffman, either because she's deaf, or a political hack, or both, didn't think twice before updating her Twitter account to completely misrepresent what Goodwin said.

Here's Hoffman's tweet:

#Sen Goodwin just called people with mental illness- idiots and imbeciles- while debating HHS bill #offensive #mndfl #mnsrc #mnlegThu May 19 00:33:57 via web

Republican Senate staffer Michael Brodkorb, the former deputy chair of the Minnesota Republican Party, then dutifully retreated Hoffman's fiction. (GOP Sen. Kirk Stensrud also retweeted Hoffman's update, but later deleted the tweet.)

Here's Brodkorb's tweet:

RT @Gretchenmh: #Sen Goodwin just called people with mental illness- idiots and imbeciles- while debating HHS bill #offensive #mndfl #mnsrcThu May 19 00:48:08 via TweetDeck

Once Goodwin realized what had happened she returned to the Senate floor, visibly shaking and appalled, and declared that "this goes beyond the pale. This is an ethics violations in my opinion, and I expect a public apology."

I have worked with people with mental illness a lot of my life. I have worked with children with mental illness. She clearly -- if she didn't hear me, she better start listening -- that the institutions, the state hospitals, used to be called -- and it was right on them -- the 'institutions for Idiots and Imbeciles and the Insane.' She totally understood what I said. And you know, this is beyond politics. This is just plain mean-spirited. And I expect an apology and I will file an ethics violation.

Here's that video:

Hoffman latter issued a statement to MPR:

I look forward to sitting down with Senator Goodwin to discuss my concerns regarding remarks she made on the Senate floor today during a lengthy debate on Health and Human Services finance bill [sic]. Until I have an opportunity to speak with Senator Goodwin directly and share my experiences as a registered nurse, I have no further comment.

We hope Goodwin gets the ethics probe she wants, but the clock is ticking on the legislative session, and the damage has already been done. As Mark Twain once famously said, "A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes."


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8 comments
Papa Chango
Papa Chango

Pathetic.  "Share my experiences as a registered nurse" - does that make it ok to lie?  I don't quite understand what she's going for there.  Low as a dog. 

Kel Lobo
Kel Lobo

Gretchen's gossip tweet was malicious.  Republicans for Lord Voldemort will undoubtedly praise and defend her attack on another Senator.

Michelle Bachmann
Michelle Bachmann

Lying about Democrats is perfectly fine.     If Republicans try to engage Democrats with facts and logic we are going to look very very stupid.    I personally know  Sen. Gretchen Hoffman and she is seriously one of the stupidest people you will ever meet.   If she couldn't lie about Democrats she would constantly have to look stupid.    Sen. Gretchen Hoffman is so dumb she lost $13,000,000 in state money in a Nigerian email scam.   Sen. Gretchen Hoffman can't be blamed for her mental and moral short comings because she was raised by carnival workers.   Another well known fact about Sen. Gretchen Hoffman is that she was one of Osama Bin Laden's many wives.   She has been depressed ever since her husband was shot.   Let's all give her a break.   I would hope the city pages comments section would rush to the defense of this woman and tell some facts they know about Sen. Gretchen Hoffman.    

David Hobby
David Hobby

 Ugh. What an offensive thing to do. (And she is standing by it -- the tweet is still up there.) At least all of MN will see her for what she is. What an embarrassment.

Thub
Thub

Just imagine if Michele Bachmann read that old list of names for the mentally challenged...  This blog would have a coronary. 

Snoop-a-loop
Snoop-a-loop

Why doesn't this surprise me at all?  I am surprised though that kirk the conservative jerk-off hasn't chimed in to defend Sen. Hoffman and bring up some completely unrelated thing that Hillary Clinton said once.

John
John

If this comment is really from Michelle Bachmann it would see obvious that she has not learned that vitriolic rhetoric and attack is no better than Sen. Gretchen Hoffman taking the words of Senator Goodwin out of context. It would seem this is the reason why the public are losing respect for all politicians Democrat or Republican. No person deserves abuse verbal or physical. This is the psychological reason some people get depress or angry. (Please don’t respond I know there are physical reasons for mental illness also) Call it Karma or what you will meanness begets meanness and kind begets kindness. My heart goes out to Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona who was shot. The cautionary warning to tone down the rhetoric must have been forgotten. These two ladies suggest their experience and desire is to help their electorate, people does not seem to be in their word. Michelle Bachmann for president really. Please help America please help Michelle see that people can change political parties in life and illness can happen to anyone Democrat or Republican. Help see just how partisan she is and it does not serve the American people.

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