Milton Wolf, the Republican doctor from Kansas who is looking to oust longtime Republican Sen. Pat Roberts, posted a series of graphic X-Ray images of gunshot wound victims and to a Facebook page and took part in joking, and at times, mocking conversation about the victims.
The Topeka Capitol-Journal first reported the photos and comments, which were posted in 2010 on a personal Facebook page that appears to have since been disabled.
For instance, Wolf posted two X-ray photos of a man who had been shot in the head. The first showed the entry wound and the man’s head without any hair. The second, according to the Capitol-Journal, showed “fracturing of bone as the bullet entered the head on the right side, as well as about 20 fragments spread across the victim’s brain.”
The comments section on those photos, according to the Capitol-Journal, ran as follows:
Shawn Cox: “Sad to see Gollum finally decided to end it all.”
Melissa Ring-Pessen: “Hey, I scanned that patient on Friday. Can you believe Miller called us and asked us why we didn’t straighten his head? Seriously??????”
Milton Wolf: “Sheesh Melissa, it’s not like the patient was going to complain.”
Jeff Edwards: “Why couldn’t you have been a breast enhancement doctor and shown us those pictures instead?”
Milton Wolf: “Ha! Jeff, now that was funny. Just be glad I’m not a gastroenterologist then.”
In addition to the questionable taste of posting such graphic images online, the posts also raise privacy concerns.
In a statement Sunday, Wolf acknowledged that he had made “insensitive” comments in light of the “seriousness of what the images revealed,” and said he had removed them. He also contended that there had been no violation of patient privacy.
“My mistakes are my own and I take full responsibility for them,” he said. “To those I have offended, I am truly sorry and I ask for your forgiveness.”
Wolf also blasted Sen. Roberts, saying that the publication of the images and comments at this point was politically motivated.
“For them to be published in a much more public context now, by a political adversary who would rather declare war on doctors than answer serious questions that Kansans have, is truly sad,” Wolf said, accusing Roberts of wanting to “attack me as a doctor rather than giving Kansans a reason to vote for him.”
“Pat Roberts has not been able to identify a single issue on which he thinks I am wrong and so he’s doing things the Washington way: character assassination,” Wolf said.
Wolf is a second cousin of President Barack Obama and has been endorsed by the Senate Conservatives Fund, who defended Wolf in a series of tweets Sunday, saying Roberts was “trying to smear” Wolf.”
The National Republican Senatorial Committee, which is backing incumbents including Roberts, blasted out the piece early Sunday.
“It is freakish if not ghoulish behavior that raises serious ethical and potentially legal questions,” said NRSC Communications Director Brad Dayspring. “Wolf’s explanation also is borderline irrational if not outright absurd. Further, if he was posting the images for education purposes, then why take them down before becoming a candidate? If truly educational and apporopiate, then why wouldn’t he have continued to post?”
Dayspring also attacked SCF for defending the actions.
“Once again it is clear that there are a few select groups and organizations like the Senate Conservatives Fund that fail to properly research candidates or do the necessary work prior to endorsing them, which maximizes risks and hurts the conservative cause,” he added. “Time and again, it has been proven that the failure to research and vet candidates results in handing winnable seats to Democrats.”
Senate Conservatives Fund executive director Matt Hoskins fired back at the NRSC in a statement to The Daily Caller.
“The NRSC failed to do its research on Senator Pat Roberts’ residency and is now supporting a candidate who does not live in Kansas and has been lying to the voters about it for over 15 years,” Hoskins said.
“If the NRSC cared about winning a majority, it would not be wasting resources attacking conservatives like Dr. Milton Wolf in solid Republican states where the seat is not at risk. The truth is, the NRSC is nothing more than an incumbent protection committee that blindly supports Republicans like Pat Roberts who have helped the Democrats pass bailouts, more debt, and higher taxes,” he added.*
Asked for comment, Roberts’ campaign manager Leroy Towns simply said: “The story speaks or itself.”
Disclaimer: Prior to his senatorial campaign, Milton Wolf submitted video op-eds to The Daily Caller.
*This post has been updated with Hoskins’ comment.