Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita came under fire over the weekend after defending rapper Ye, formerly Kanye West.
Rokita, a Republican, tweeted a link to an Oct. 6 MSNBC story that criticized Ye, prominently focused around the rapper donning a “White Lives Matter” shirt at a recent fashion show. In his defense of Ye, Rokita claimed the media was unfairly targeting the rapper for his “independent thinking” and “opposing thoughts.”
“The constant hypocrisy from the media is at an all-time high,” Rokita said in the tweet. “They have now gone after Kanye for his new fashion line, his independent thinking, & for having opposing thoughts from the norm of Hollywood.”
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Rokita’s tweet faced swift backlash because hours earlier Ye made antisemitic threats toward Jewish people in a tweet that has since been removed for violating the Twitter guidelines. Ye was locked out of his Instagram and Twitter accounts after posting antisemitic messages and violating the guidelines on both platforms, USA Today reported.
Rokita went on to say that Ye’s message “in this instance,” presumably referring to the “White Lives Matter” shirt, was “fair and accurate” and that the rapper was “entitled to his opinion.” The tweet linked to an interview between Ye and Fox News personality Tucker Carlson, where Ye defended himself and the shirt.
Rokita railed against the media, saying they’d “steamroll anyone if they do not kowtow to their way of thinking.”
Ye’s antisemitic tweet was sent late Saturday, and Rokita first tweeted about Ye just before 5 pm EST Sunday.
Hours later on Sunday, Rokita replied to his original thread and attempted to disassociate from Ye’s antisemitic remarks.
“My post was specifically and clearly at the hypocrisy of the media and Hollywood elites, not anything to do with other comments,” Rokita said. “I have an obvious, clear and substantial Congressional and public record of being 100% supportive of the Jewish community and Israel.”
In response to IndyStar’s request for comment, press secretary for the Attorney General’s office Kelly Stevenson issued a statement.
“As he himself stated, the post was clearly at the hypocrisy of the media and Hollywood elites,” Stevenson said in a statement emailed to IndyStar. “He has an obvious, clear and substantial Congressional and public record of being 100% supportive of the Jews.”
Stevenson said Rokita was “unaware of the other comments made by Kanye West at the time.”
“He actually articulated his message on Saturday morning,” Stevenson said. “However, the communications team did not publish the comment until a day and a half later.”
Rokita’s initial tweet lugging over 1,200 quote tweets, as compared to around 490 likes, as of Monday afternoon. Thousands of Twitter users responded, many of which were critical of Rokita’s comments.
The Anti-Defamation League condemned West’s comments in a tweet, saying that antisemitic tropes like disloyalty, power and greed, commonly used to stereotype and levy hate against Jewish people, influenced Ye’s comments.
The Indiana Democratic Party also spoke out against Rokita’s comments in a statement Monday.
“All instances of antisemitism and hate need to be condemned, and Todd Rokita’s comments are disgusting and beneath any person holding elected office,” spokesperson Drew Anderson said in an emailed statement, “This is just one more example of Rokita running to be the Indiana Republican Party’s biggest extremist, and his political stunt is another reminder the GOP puts its out-of-touch agenda first, Indiana’s future last.”
This is not the first time Rokita has gained notoriety. Earlier this summer, after IndyStar published a story that mentioned Dr. Caitlin Bernard providing abortion services to a 10-year-old girl from Ohio, Rokita said on Fox News he would investigate Bernard and whether she reported the procedure.
Rokita claimed Bernard had a history of failing to report, but did not provide evidence to back up those claims. He also questioned whether Bernard had violated HIPAA, again, without evidence.
After IndyStar obtained documentation from the Indiana Department of Health that Bernard had reported the abortion and indicated the patient had suffered abuse, Rokita said he would continue to investigate Bernard. IU Health also said that Bernard did not violate HIPAA.
At a Sept. 1 news conference, Rokita was asked about the status of the investigation into Bernard and said it was “ongoing.”
USA Today contributed to this report.
Contact IndyStar trending reporter Claire Rafford at [email protected] or on Twitter @clairerafford.
This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Indiana Attorney General Rokita tweets in support of Kanye West