Texas’ 10 Worst Social Media Moments of 2016

It was a year of fake news, nonsensical tweets and non-apologies galore.

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If 2016 taught us anything, it’s that one late-night Twitter outburst can leave the entire country reeling for days to come. But President-elect Donald Trump wasn’t alone in his ill-advised posting. Here are 10 times prominent Texans made us hang our heads in shame this year.

1. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick seems to suggest that the Orlando massacre was a judgment from God.

On June 12, mere hours after a gunman murdered 49 people in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Patrick sent out a tweet proclaiming “a man reaps what he sows.”

Patrick issued an apology claiming the tweet was pre-scheduled and that he was “actually on an island,” where the internet was slow and the news had not yet reached him.

2. State Representative Jonathan Stickland calls out Ernest Bailes, business association for being too liberal.

On March 25, Stickland tweeted that lefty forces are conspiring against true conservatives.

Beyond the claim that the state Representative-elect is a big Republican faker, Stickland’s followers wanted to know “What, exactly, does it mean to be “pro homosexual?”

Stickland never responded.

3. Allen West, CEO of a Dallas-based right-wing think tank, promotes Muslim genocide.

On December 10, a meme was shared on the former Florida congressman’s Facebook page praising Trump’s pick for defense secretary, James Mattis. The praise centered on Mattis “exterminating” Muslims.


The editor-in-chief of West’s website later claimed West had nothing to do with the post. She did not clarify who did.

4. Robert Morrow, short-lived chair of the Travis County GOP, tweets, well, all sorts of things.

The libertarian prankster and conspiracy theorist headed the Central Texas Republicans for a mere two months, but his Twitter account left a mighty impression. On March 1 — in a magnum opus of sorts — he called for jailing a Republican dynasty and launched a truly unique accusation at former Governor Rick Perry. 

See here for more (though hopefully you have better things to do).

5. State Senator Konni Burton’s full-stop support of tyranny.

When Burton (R-Fort Worth) isn’t filing bills that out LGBT students, she can be found bickering with just about anyone on Twitter. During one particularly heated late-night exchange on December 13, her target was fellow representative Jason Villalba and the notion of civil liberty.

When Observer Editor Forrest Wilder followed up on Burton’s tweet, she responded, “Thank you for putting that on the record. I mean, cuz twitter didn’t do that already… #duh.”

6. Senator Ted Cruz predicts a sex-change fueled apocalypse.

On Oct. 16, Texas’ tea party golden boy proved the dangers of tweeting an article without actually reading it. Though the headline “Why conservatives will need a new party if/when Hillary wins” was spot-on for Cruz’s personal brand, the reference to “mandated sex change operations” by 2020 might have ruffled some feathers.

The tweet was deleted within a few hours.

7. Governor Greg Abbott goes Trumpian on a Texas elector.

When the Electoral College met to vote, Abbott took to Twitter to address a faithless elector with a quick-tempered homage to the president-elect

ICYMI: Electors aren’t bound in Texas, overused cliches are poor rhetoric and some Texans don’t like being cyber-bullied by the Governor. Suprun, a GOP elector from Dallas and outspoken never-Trumper, fired back at Abbott, saying “Nothing says impotent like being ‘fired’ after casting my ballot.”

8. Texas A&M football coach Aaron Moorehead exemplifies the not-so-subtle art of subtweeting.

Shortly after a highly sought-after quarterback broke his verbal commitment to the Fightin’ Texas Aggies, the wide-receiver coach went on a hashtag- and emoji-riddled rant about loyalty. Here are some of the highlights, which have since been deleted:

Within hours, a four-star wide receiver recruit took to Twitter to formally de-commit in response to Moorehead’s outburst. 


9. Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller calls Hillary Clinton the “C-word.”

On November 1st, with the presidential election winding down, a tweet was issued from Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller’s Twitter account cheering on then-candidate Donald Trump and, yes, calling Hillary Clinton a cunt.

Miller later deleted the tweet and apologized, claiming the tweet was issued by a “third-party vendor.” He added that such vulgarity was “beneath [him].”

10. Also, Sid Miller’s entire Facebook timeline.

In a year marred by fake news, Miller reigned supreme. He routinely shared blatantly false articles and photos, including an edited picture of President Barack Obama holding up a Che Guevara shirt on a visit to Cuba, a story about a man forced to take down his American flag because it threatened Muslims and a video claiming radical Islamic protesters were rallying around a giant picture of Jesus’ decapitated head.

In an interview with KUT, Miller offered an explanation: “It’s like Fox News. I report, you decide if it’s true or not. Y’all are holding me to the same standards as you are a news organization, and it’s just Facebook.”

Read more of the Observer‘s Best of 2016.