Americans for Tax Reform’s tax-policy director, Ryan Ellis, didn’t mince his words when he called tea-party activists “freaking retarded” in a tweet on Wednesday night:
@freddoso I’ve gotta tell you, man, I’m starting to think these tea party activists are freaking retarded— Ryan Ellis (@RyanLEllis) October 24, 2013
Ellis took issue with “defunders” because he claimed that they had convinced members of the Tea Party that a government shutdown would have defunded Obamacare. Earlier in the evening, he also called Ted Cruz “a despicable man who lies to good people.”
Ellis brushed off initial backlash to the comments.
Lesson from Twitter tonight: say anything negative about Rafael Eduardo Cruz, be prepared for derp. Lots and lots of derp.— Ryan Ellis (@RyanLEllis) October 24, 2013
@ZacharyGraves i get bored easily.— Ryan Ellis (@RyanLEllis) October 24, 2013
The Madison Project PAC, a grassroots network of conservatives, criticized Ellis for his comments, saying it reflected “what’s wrong with the K Street Republicans in Washington, DC.”
“Instead of fighting for hard-working families that struggle every day to make ends meet, they choose to attack them,” the group’s political director said in a statement. The Madison Project has called on Americans for Tax Reform to apologize.
UPDATE: Ellis apologized for his previous tweet, saying that he should not have chosen the word “retarded”:
As someone with a Down Syndrome first cousin, I should not have used the word “retarded” in any context. It was a throwaway heated term.— Ryan Ellis (@RyanLEllis) October 24, 2013