Politico Removes ‘Insensitive’ Phrase About Republican Operative Who Died Of AIDS

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Evie Fordham Politics and Health Care Reporter
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Politico removed an “insensitive” turn of phrase in a story about a Republican operative who died of AIDS because the writer attributed the AIDS diagnosis to the operative’s “decadent homosexual lifestyle” in a story Sunday.

Politico removed the phrase a few hours after the piece was published, sparking a social media outcry, but the outlet did not add an editor’s note at first, reported The Wrap.

Politico senior staff writer Michael Kruse used the phrase in a story about President Donald Trump’s relationship with adviser Roy Cohn, who worked closely with former Wisconsin Republican Sen. Joseph McCarthy. The article examined the connections between the three men in light of Trump’s tweet that compared special counsel Robert Mueller and McCarthy Sunday.

The Politico article is still available on internet archives. The piece now has an editor’s note that reads “An earlier version of this story contained language about Roy Cohn that was deemed insensitive and has been removed.”

Kruse described the career of Cohn, who was rumored to be a closeted gay man, in the original Politico story.

Kruse wrote that Cohn’s autobiography was published in 1988, “two years after he died from AIDS, the result of the decadent homosexual lifestyle he denied to the end, and a year after his avid protégé gave his first political speech and released ‘The Art of the Deal.’

“I chose that phrase based on some of the specifics of Cohn’s promiscuity. But you’re right. I should have thought harder about these echoes and connotations,” Kruse wrote on Twitter Monday in response to another Twitter user’s expression of disapproval for the phrase. (RELATED: Politico Reporter Mocks Trump Supporters As Toothless Hicks)

Several members of the media had already called out Politico on Twitter for the phrase.

Ashley Feinberg of Huffington Post expressed her disapproval on Twitter Monday.

Politico came under fire earlier in August for a reporter’s tweet that mocked Trump supporters at a rally in Tampa, Florida.

Reporter Marc Caputo shared a video of rally attendees and wrote, “If you put everyone’s mouths together in this video, you’d get a full set of teeth.”

Follow Evie on Twitter @eviefordham.

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