State Department acting spokeswoman Marie Harf got in a Facebook spat with a friend after he posted a Daily Caller article critical of her abilities.
The offending article was media reporter Al Weaver’s excellent report on comments by New York Times columnist David Brooks blasting Harf’s response to criticism. After Harf dismissed an op-ed by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger as nothing but “big words and big thoughts,” Brooks snarked, “Are we in nursery school? We’re not, no polysyllabic words?”
“Team Obama bans polysyllabic words!!” gloated William M. Todd, a family friend of Harf’s. But Harf, who apparently has enough time to troll Facebook at 1 PM on a Friday afternoon, pounced:
Bill – I’m not sure how you could think this article accurately portrays me or how I view complicated foreign policy issues, given how long you’ve personally known me and my family. Does your hatred of this administration matter so much to you that it justifies posting a hurtful comment and a mean-spirited story about the daughter of someone you’ve known for years and used to call a friend? There’s a way to disagree with our policies without making it personal. Growing up in Ohio, that’s how I was taught to disagree with people. I hope your behavior isn’t an indication that’s changed.
A few of Todd’s other Facebook friends jumped to his defense. “Marie, your job performance has been highlighted by quite a few PR slips,” wrote one Rachel Mullen. “As an Ohioan, you should know that we don’t give someone a pass simply for being a Buckeye.” (VIDEO: State Department Spox Lashes Out At Reporters For *Gasp* Asking Questions)
But then Todd himself responded to the article, delivering a smackdown on Harf.
@ Marie. I have been very careful to never criticize you personally over your official comments. I have always and will always speak highly of you and your family — as my good friend from Florida, Jefferson Knight has indicated.
However, you are correct that I disagree with the foreign policies of this Administration and hope that they are capable of correction in the future.
In this particular instance, I am glad that you chimed in on the discussion. I certainly can understand why your Team would disagree with Henry Kissinger and George Schultz on policy matters. However, what is amazing to me was your condescending and, almost childish criticism of what I considered to be a well-reasoned and thoughtful op-ed on the current Middle East crisis.
I know you don’t agree with me, but for over 40 years, I have admired Mr. Kissinger as the keeper of the flame of a strong tradition of Western diplomacy stretching back over the centuries. He was always a brilliant scholar and his stellar service as Secretary of State proved that his theories worked in practice as well.
Despite our disagreements over the policies of this Administration, I have tried to avoid even discussing your role in communicating those mistaken ideas. The fact I departed from that restraint in this instance should tell you how disappointed about the Department’s response to the this Op-ed.
Harf pushed back twenty minutes later — with an essay-length response. Again, we must stress this is a federal employee during a workday afternoon, on taxpayer dime: