Staffers for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign debated about whether the word “amen” was too offensive to use in a tweet about Pope Francis himself, according to leaked emails.
In an email chain leaked by the organization WikiLeaks, from June 2015, Lauren Peterson, a Clinton campaign staffer, listed two options for Hillary to tweet out, regarding Pope Francis’ comments on climate change. Those two options were selected as “people’s favorites.” The point of messaging them around was to pare down the two tweets to one.
“Real problems take real solutions. Thank you, @Pontifex <https://twitter.com/Pontifex>, for shining a light on the crisis of climate change. -H,” the first option read.
“There’s only one thing to say about @Pontifex <https://twitter.com/Pontifex>’s bold statements on climate change & renewable energy: Amen. -H,” the second option read.
Teddy Goff, another Clinton staffer, chimed in with his pick of the second tweet, which featured the word “amen” but worried that it might come off as offensive, adding Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta to the email thread for his advice.
“Adding Podesta here too for his review. I vote #2, but defer to the non-Jews on this thread if anyone thinks “amen” might rub people the wrong way,” Goff wrote.
In response, Podesta wrote, “I’m ok. We are kind of slow on the draw here so might try to do something more forward leaning like encyclical + Pope’s September visit to US & UN add critical momentum to Paris conference. Other way to take this is to thank him for pointing out that the people at the bottom will get clobbered the most by climate change.”
Earlier that week in June 2015, Pope Francis had released an encyclical tied climate change to selfish human activity and said the rich should change the way they live their lives, so as to reduce damage to the environment.
Peterson then came up with a tweet based on Podesta’s suggestion that left out the word “amen,” opting to use the more neutrally phrased “moral crisis” instead.
That’s what the Clinton campaign ultimately chose to tweet out.
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