A member of the state’s GOP executive committee is under fire after a social media post.
Terry Harper, who is a State Republican Executive Committeeman for Senate District 21 and a Seguin Gazette contributing political columnist, said the post he made recently involving a guillotine and Utah Sen. Mitt Romney (R) was a misunderstanding.
“I will admit, I should have used different words,” Harper said Friday. “Using the word guillotine, we know what a guillotine is. The French used that in the revolution.”
On Jan. 2, Harper shared on Facebook a post from Romney criticizing Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and others who planned to object to Congress certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.
“Romney should be introduced to our friend Mr. Guillotine,” Harper wrote while sharing Romney’s post.
He did not mean the quip as an insinuation that the senator be decapitated, Harper said. He did not intend his comment as a threat.
“They believe that I said we need to remove Mr. Romney’s head; that’s not what I said,” Harper said. “I said Mr. Romney is not the conservative he says he is.”
What he actually meant to convey was a metaphor, the Republican Party of Texas member said.
He tried to say that Romney is the head of the Republican Party in Utah and that he needs to be removed from that political body, Harper said. Readers of his social media post took the guillotine reference more literally, he said.
“The guillotine was designed to separate the head from the body,” Harper said. “I was trying to use a metaphor to take it into politics rather than death.”
Harper has since removed the post from his Facebook page and spent about three days or so in Facebook timeout for violating the company’s community standards and shut down his account for four or five days.
The story of his guillotine wording misstep was picked up and reported by the Dallas Morning News and went national, Harper said. People tracked him down, called his phone and “viciously attacked” him in those calls, he said.
Still, he insists he did nothing wrong and his words were taken out of context, but he could’ve communicated better.
“When I used [the word guillotine], I should have explained it a little better,” Harper said.
Harper serves on the Republican Party of Texas’ Candidate Recruitment Task Force, Organization Committee, Legislative Affairs Committee and the State Republican Executive Committee for Senate District 21.
State party leadership laughed off the incident because they know him and know his heart, Harper said.
A pair of messages left Friday afternoon at the Republican Party of Texas headquarters seeking comment were not returned by press time.
Harper said he is an older man who speaks his mind, and he believes in the United States and its system of electing representatives for the people. It should be done fairly at the ballot box, Harper said.
His comment regarding Romney was a small thing blown out of proportion by internet users, he said.
“Nowadays, we have people who hide behind a keyboard and they’re vicious,” Harper said. “We don’t take the time to sit and think and talk.
“They read what they wanted instead of asking my intent.”
Dalondo Moultrie is the assistant managing editor of the Seguin Gazette. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.