Republican National Committee Rapid Response Director Steve Guest was the subject of outrage and mockery Monday when he tweeted out an attack on Democratic presidential hopeful, former Vice President Joe Biden, that quickly backfired.
Guest attempted to capitalize on the day’s Washington Redskins news, posting an undated photo of Biden and one of his sons, when the boy was a toddler, at a game. The son — either Hunter, now 50, or Beau, who died of cancer in 2015 — is wearing a Redskins cap as Biden holds him close.
“Hey Joe Biden, are you still a Redskins fan?” Guest wrote.
The Tweet was roundly “ratioed” — that is, attracted far more comments than likes — until Guest deleted it, as well as a follow-up that people found even more offensive.
The Photo Is Featured Prominently on Joe Biden’s Campaign Website & Shows Biden Holding One of His Sons Close At a Redskins Game, Likely in the Early 1970s
The photo Guest tweeted was taken from the Biden campaign website and shows Biden holding one of his sons closely at a Redskins game. The photo is undated, but was likely taken in the early 1970s, considering that Beau was born in 1969 and Hunter in 1970, according to Biography.com.
Beau Biden died of brain cancer in 2015. Hunter has been a favorite target of Republicans accusing him of corporate graft using his father’s vice presidency and business connections, as well as attacking his past drug use, which he has been candid about, Business Insider reported.
Hey Steve, it took me less than 5 minutes to find this photo of Joe Biden and both his sons that, upon comparison, definitely makes it possible that Joe is holding Beau in the photo you posted, making you both an absolute ghoul AND terrible at your job. pic.twitter.com/u6q9EcgYu3
— Kendall Brown (@kendallybrown) July 13, 2020
Guest followed the Tweet with a reply, telling “the libs” in his mentions, “odds are this is a photo of Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s crack-smoking son who was administratively discharged from the Navy for testing positive for cocaine and who has abused his dad’s elected position to get rich off the Chinese Communist Party.”
Guest first deleted the reply Tweet. Then, minutes later, the first.
Backlash Came Quickly, With Guest Labeled a ‘Ghoul’ & Accused of Being a ‘Coward’ by Rep. Eric Swalwell
Both of his sons are in this picture. One of them is now dead. This is when Joe Biden was a single father after his wife and daughter died in a car crash.
What point are you trying to make?
— Relentlessly Hasan (@RelentlessYapp) July 13, 2020
Users were stunned by the attempted political attack and wasted no time pointing out to Guest that, no matter which son was pictured, the photo was taken not long after Biden’s first wife, Neilia Hunter, and daughter, Naomi, perished in a car crash.
What type of person looks at a heartwarming photo of Joe Biden, when he was a widower and a single dad, lovingly cradling his boys, and decides to use it to throw dirt at him? @SteveGuest the Rapid Response Director of the RNC, the soulless party of Trump. @GOP Ghouls. pic.twitter.com/mulsDlOLVI
— SocialDistancingTK (@Freedom_TK_) July 13, 2020
California Rep. Eric Swalwell even joined the pile-on, calling Guest a coward and lamenting what he sees as the downfall of the Republican party.
There was once a Republican Party I could debate on taxes, size of government, & funding of education. Now, it’s been reduced to cruelly attacking a father who has outlived half his children. When you post something like this, it’s time to ponder what circle of hell awaits you. https://t.co/47sQHqxoMu
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) July 13, 2020
“There was once a Republican Party I could debate on taxes, size of government and funding of education,” Swalwell said. “Now, it’s been reduced to cruelly attacking a father who has outlived half his children. When you post something like this, it’s time to ponder what circle of hell awaits you.”
He later followed up with, “I figured this coward would delete the Tweet.”
Support for Guest’s original Tweets was hard to come by, Monday evening. Far-right commentator Jack Posobiec tweeted one of the few defenses of Guest, saying, “Steve Guest is a patriot who loves his country.”
Guest Works in Communications for the RNC & Used To Write for Tucker Carlson’s Right-Wing News & Opinion Website the Daily Caller
According to his Linkedin page, Guest has worked at the RNC for four years, first as deputy press secretary; he is now rapid response director. Before that, he was a media reporter at the Daily Caller, a right-wing news and opinion site founded by controversial Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
The Daily Caller was in the news Friday, after Carlson’s Fox top writer, who also wrote for the website, resigned over graphic racist and misogynist posts he made anonymously on the message board. Fox News condemned that writer, Blake Neff’s, comments in a statement on Sunday.
Guest also worked as a producer on conservative host Hugh Hewitt’s radio show for four months and as an intern with former California Rep. John Campbell, according to his Linkedin page.
Heavy reached out to the RNC’s communications department and Biden’s campaign director, Jen O’Malley Dillon, but had not heard back as of Monday evening.