Time magazine senior national correspondent Michael Grunwald gloated this weekend over the prospect of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s death in a drone strike, inviting a public backlash that forced both Time and Grunwald into hasty excuses.
“I can’t wait to write a defense of the drone strike that takes out Julian Assange,” Grunwald, who wrote a defense of Big Government in an April article, tweeted Saturday evening.
One of Grunwald’s followers quickly rebuked him, saying that the assassination comment “gives Assange supporters a nice safe persecution complex to hide in.”
Grunwald, who in a book last year declared the ARRA stimulus an economic success that had gone unappreciated because of the “skewed view” of the American people, deleted the Tweet quickly.
Grunwald later tweeted his regrets, saying he deserved criticism.
It was a dumb tweet. I’m sorry. I deserve the backlash. (Maybe not the anti-Semitic stuff but otherwise I asked for it.)
— Michael Grunwald (@MikeGrunwald) August 18, 2013
Wikileaks called on Time to ask for Grunwald’s resignation.
We have written to TIME magazine to ask for Michael Grunwald’s resignation https://t.co/X8Rf3TN5MY
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 18, 2013
A Time magazine spokesperson later disavowed Grunwald’s tweet, telling the website Mediaite that it did not reflect the views of the weekly magazine.
“Michael Grunwald posted an offensive tweet from his personal Twitter account that is in no way representative of TIME’s views,” the spokesperson said. “He regrets having tweeted it, and he removed it from his feed.”
Assange, currently holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, is running for office in Australia’s September Senate election.
He recently announced his support for the American libertarian political movement, former Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul, and Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul.
(Josh Peterson contributed to this article)