“I deleted a tweet that could be read as encouraging violence,” Wagner wrote. “I didn’t mean it that way, but I should know better than to say anything that could be misconstrued in a violent direction. I apologize for that.”
An automatic response from Wagner’s email indicated he would not be available for additional comment.
I deleted a tweet that could be read as encouraging violence. I didn’t mean it that way, but I should know better than to say anything that could be misconstrued in a violent direction. I apologize for that.
— Mike Wagner (@prowag) August 9, 2021
The Wisconsin Federation of College Republicans called Wagner’s tweet “inexcusable” and a “disgrace” to the University of Wisconsin System. The group, which represents more than a dozen campus chapters across the state, called on UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank and interim System President Tommy Thompson to condemn Wagner’s statement and take disciplinary action against him.
Lily Schwenk, an incoming UW-Madison junior and vice-chairperson of the statewide group, said College Republicans support free speech but that they drew a line at encouraging violence against a U.S. senator.
Asked how the situation differed from language used by former Republican President Donald Trump, which some say encouraged his supporters to storm the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, sending senators and representatives into hiding, Schwenk said she didn’t personally view Trump’s remarks as inciting violence.
University spokesperson Meredith McGlone said students, faculty and staff are free to exercise their First Amendment rights on social media. When they do, she said, they are sharing their own views, not those of the university.