An op-ed writer for The New York Times, Will Wilkinson, lost his think tank job over a scandal caused by a tweet that, apparently as a "joke", proposed lynching former Vice President Mike Pence to "unify the nation", Fox News reported Thursday.
Wilkinson, fired from his post as Niskanen Center Vice President for Research, took to Twitter on Wednesday night when, following US President Joe Biden's inaugural address call for unity, he gave him some provocative advice.
"If Biden really wanted unity, he'd lynch Mike Pence," Wilkinson's tweet reportedly read.
A day later, the NYT contributor deleted the tweet and apologized publicly. He then reportedly blocked his personal account from being viewed by the public.
"Last night I made an error of judgment and tweeted this. It was sharp sarcasm, but looked like a call for violence. That's always wrong, even as a joke," Wilkinson wrote in an apology statement. "It was especially wrong at a moment when unity and peace are so critical. I'm deeply sorry and vow not to repeat the mistake."
.@WillWilkinson deleted this tweet calling for the lynching of former Vice President of the United States @Mike_Pence.— Reagan Battalion (@ReaganBattalion) January 21, 2021
Will is a @nytimes op-ed writer and VP of research for the "moderate" Niskanen Center. pic.twitter.com/pwikmGp2Uo
The Niskanen Center reportedly issued a statement in which it said that it "appreciates and encourages interesting and provocative online discourse", although it has since "parted ways" with Wilkinson.
Eventually, Wilkinson unblocked his Twitter page for public viewing, changing his bio from the list of his places of work to simply "A citizen of Earth."was reportedly designed for Pence, who presided as the vice president over Congress' convention to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Trump had been battling the results of the election for over two months, arguing that major voter fraud occurred on November 3. His legal team had filed numerous claims in the battleground states. Media sources, however, stated that Pence told Trump before the certification that the president did not have the power to block Biden's victory from congressional certification.
According to US law, threatening the lives of a US president or vice president is considered a felony, which may lead to a fine or a jail term of up to five years.