ATR Staffer Releases Statement Regarding Tweets Against Tea Party Activists

Americans for Tax Reform  Tax Policy Director Ryan Ellis found himself at bitter odds with tea party activists after he tweeted out harsh statements about Senator Ted Cruz (R – TX) and tea partiers. In one tweet Ellis remarked that tea party activists were “freaking retarded” and in another tweet he compared Cruz to Revolutionary War era officer and duelist Aaron Burr saying that the Texas Republican “is a despicable man.” 

Red State’s Erick Erickson responded:

“I’m pretty sure ATR has, in the past, sought to rally tea party activists to their cause,” Erickson wrote on his blog. “Just remember from now on that ATR’s tax policy director is pretty sure you guys are, in his words, ‘freaking retarded.'”

Drew Ryun at the Madison Project also issued a statement calling the tweets “offensive” and demanded an apology from ATR.

“We work closely with the Tea Party movement and these people are salt of the earth Americans that take the future of our nation seriously. They are hurting from the costs of Obamacare and feel completely disenfranchised by the Washington elite,” said Ryun.  “The last thing they deserve is to be disrespected by Grover Norquist and his so called ‘conservative’ operation. At the very least, the Tea Party deserves an apology from ATR.”

Apparently, powerful conservative voices in the movement also contacted ATR president Grover Norquist and made it clear the tweets went too far. Ellis released a statement to Breitbart News on Thursday night:

The tea party is responsible for the grassroots success in the fight to tackle government spending over the past several years. Without the tea party, the Republican party would not have captured the House in 2010. Without the tea party, we would never have ended earmarks. That is why it was so annoying to see a Twitter argument with a couple of people (on my personal Twitter account) end up misrepresented by others.  And worse, there was an effort to suggest that I was speaking for Americans for Tax Reform.  

Both misrepresentations were less than accurate or honorable.  I have always had and continue to have the highest regard for the activism and successes of the modern tea party movement. One or two people trying to assert the opposite had to go to great lengths to suggest otherwise.  On Wednesday night I had a heated exchange with a few individuals on Twitter, and I used language I shouldn’t have. Because this was a personal tweet, it should not be read as originating from anyone other than myself.  Last thought: If you don’t enjoy Twitter arguments, stay out of them, and for heaven’s sake don’t try to jump in the middle and misrepresent somebody’s overall views.  That is a violation of Twitter etiquette. 

Ryan Ellis
Tax Policy Director
Americans for Tax Reform