HATTIESBURG, Mississippi–Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) praised the return of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl on Twitter on May 31 but has deleted the Tweet since then.
“Welcome home, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl,” Cochran tweeted from his official U.S. Senate Twitter account @SenThadCochran. “A grateful America thanks you for your service.”
The tweet was still publicly available as of Wednesday morning when Breitbart News took a screenshot of it. But sometime between then and now, Cochran has deleted the tweet.
President Barack Obama has faced intense criticism for the deal he cut to release Bergdahl. The White House released five Taliban fighters from Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention center in exchange for Bergdahl’s release.
Obama did not notify Congress of the release of the suspected terrorists ahead of time, either, infuriating both Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill.
“A timeline of the negotiations with the Taliban, provided by the White House, made clear that it knew an imminent transfer was possible by mid-May, roughly two weeks before it took place,” The New York Times wrote. “And officials familiar with the sequence of events said it was a desire to keep the talks secret for fear that any disclosure would scuttle the negotiations–and perhaps a reluctance to re-engage with Democratic and Republican members of Congress who were critical of the proposed swap in 2011 and early 2012–that motivated the White House decision.”
The politically infuriating secret nature of the deal is compounded by the circumstances by which Bergdahl ended up in Taliban custody in the first place. Charges that he deserted the U.S. military and left his base vulnerable on purpose in his wake have driven media coverage for the last several days, leading top Republicans in the U.S. Senate to level hefty criticism against the administration for the deal.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), for instance, said that if any more prisoners are released from Guantanamo like this, there could be impeachment proceedings brought against President Obama.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) told the UK’s Daily Mail that Obama broke the law. “We have a law in this country; it says you have to notify [Congress] within… 30 days,” Rubio said. “He completely ignored it. He’s gone rogue.”
The reasoning behind Cochran’s making such a statement about Bergdahl during a heated primary challenge from conservative state Sen. Chris McDaniel–then deleting it from Twitter after McDaniel won more votes than Cochran in Tuesday’s election forcing a runoff in three weeks–is unclear.
Cochran’s team has yet to provide any public statement about the matter.