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Public education commissioner: Facebook post about Griffin was ‘a joke’

A New Mexico public education commissioner says he posted an expletive-laden Facebook message supporting comedian Kathy Griffin and calling Route 66 Casino a “loser, red-neck” venue as a joke because he believes the backlash against Griffin was “an overreaction.”

Tim Crone

Tim Crone

Tim Crone, 70, an Española resident who teaches anthropology at Santa Fe Community College, told the Journal he has taken down most of the Facebook post, which said, in part, “Keep up the good work, girl! She doesn’t need the one day CNN gig, nor Route 66 Casino (why the hell did her agent book this loser, red-neck, rump voter venue in the first place?)”

The message, posted late Wednesday night, goes on to call Trump a “expletive, expletive, loser” and “former almost president.”

“It was a joke, come on,” Crone told the Journal. “This is nuts.”

Gov. Susana Martinez’s spokesman called for Crone to apologize and step down from the PEC, a group of 10 elected commissioners with oversight of the state’s charter schools. Crone represents District 10, which covers Colfax and Taos counties, and parts of Rio Arriba and Santa Fe counties.

Comedian Kathy Griffin. (Photo by Rich Fury/Invision/AP, File)

“Dangerous rhetoric like this has no place in our dialogue,” Mike Lonergan, Martinez’s press secretary, said in an emailed statement. “If a comedian admitted it crossed the line, then it’s certainly over the line for a public official to applaud and encourage such a sick stunt.”

Griffin has came under fire for a photo that shows the acerbic comic holding a blood-covered Trump mask. CNN dropped her from its New Year’s Eve program and Route 66 cancelled an upcoming appearance. On Tuesday, she posted a video apologizing and saying she had gone too far.

Crone told the Journal he used strong language to “imitate Trump” and he now regrets the Facebook post. He removed most of the post Thursday morning, but left up a message of support for Griffin.

“I didn’t think it would be offensive, but I guess I was wrong,” he said. “I just think it was an overreaction from CNN and Route 66. It seemed excessive.”

Crone – a Democrat who was elected to the PEC in 2016 – acknowledged that he is no fan of the president and his Facebook page contains a number of anti-Trump posts.

PEC chair Patricia Gipson told the Journal that the commission has no rules about political expression. Gipson had not seen Crone’s Facebook post and declined further comment.

SFCC President Randy Grissom said the college supports free speech, but “postings by employees on non-college-related social media platforms do not always represent the views or values of the college.”

Crone told the Journal he will be more careful about his social media presence in the future.

“I didn’t realize that muckrakers were going to be reading this,” Crone said.

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