Governor Rick Perry poses for his mugshot after being indicted for two felony charges.
What the hell happened on Governor Rick Perry's Twitter account last night?
The recently indicted Republican was quick to distance himself from a disparaging tweet sent out from his verified Twitter account Sunday evening. Perry, who is facing two felony counts of abuse of power and coercion, seemingly mocked Rosemary Lehmberg, the Travis County district attorney who was the impetus for his criminal charges, with a photo that called her a drunk. The insulting image was quickly deleted, and Perry took to social media to claim the tweet was "unauthorized," but not before it was preserved online for posterity.
Lehmberg heads the state's Public Integrity Unit (PIU), an outfit tasked with investigating and prosecuting state government corruption. The unit was investigating the governor's office over questionable funding for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas when Lehmberg was arrested for driving while intoxicated in April 2013. She steadfastly refused Perry's calls to resign after she pleaded guilty and served jail time. Perry then vetoed $7.5 million in state funding for the PIU, an act that led to his current prosecution.
In the image on Twitter, Lehmberg's mugshot was photoshopped into a photo of The Most Interesting Man in the World from the Dos Exis advertising campaign. The mock-up was accompanied by the caption, "I don't always drive drunk at 3x the legal blood alcohol limit... but when I do, I indict Governor Perry for calling me out about it. I am the most drunk Democrat in Texas."
The tweet was quickly taken down, but not before it was noticed by followers. The governor swiftly absolved himself of responsibilty.
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
Whether Perry sent the tweet or not may never be known, but since his indictment by a Travis Country grand jury, the governor has continued to make light of his criminal prosecution. After he went in to have his mug shot taken, he tweeted out a photo of him enjoying an ice cream cone at Sandy's, a central Austin burger stand.
And then, ice cream cone at #Sandy's pic.twitter.com/rDYW6HvoS5 — Rick Perry (@GovernorPerry) August 19, 2014
In addition, Perry's political action committee RickPAC has been raising funds for a potential 2016 presidential campaign by selling t-shirts printed with his mugshot.
And while Perry may be able to claim plausible deniability, freelance journalist and political analyst Scott Braddock took to Twitter to note that the governor's staff claims Perry himself is the man behind his verified account.
When @GovernorPerry blocked me on Twitter, his staff insisted he runs that account himself http://t.co/7RE9DDnwua #TxLege
— Scott Braddock (@scottbraddock) September 1, 2014