The president of a Maryland teacher’s union is facing a call for his resignation after becoming the latest person to post a tasteless response to Wednesday’s crash involving a train carrying Republican legislators to a retreat in West Virginia and a truck carrying garbage.
Rep. Andy Harris, Maryland’s lone Republican Congressman, demanded that Ryan Burbey resign his position as President of the Harford County Education Association after Burbey posted “karma” in response to the crash, according to WBAL.
The crash killed one man and injured several others, all of whom were aboard the trash truck hit by the train. Though a Republican, 60-year-old Harris was not aboard the train en route to the Greenbriar resort in West Virginia when it crashed.
Harris said Burbey “disgraced himself” with his comment, which was “toxic, blindly partisan rhetoric” that was “counterproductive and hateful” and “has no place in our educational system,” according to the Washington Times.
Rep. Harris told Fox Baltimore there should be “zero tolerance” for comments like Burbey’s, likening it to the ongoing wave of consequences for people accused (and convicted) of sexual harassment, assault, or rape charges. Ryan Burbey’s statement was not sexual in any apparent manner.
In a long response, Burbey apologized, dismissed the idea of resigning and fired back at Rep. Harris.
At the time I posted the comment, I did not know anyone was harmed. I would not have posted it if I had. I am sorry. I posted an insensitive comment about the GOP train wreck into the dump truck. ‘Karma’ I was being sarcastic. It was not meant to offend anyone or make light of someone being harmed. I don’t want anyone to ever be hurt or killed. Those who know me, know this. I took the photo down. I am sorry folks were offended. It was not a partisan smear.
Burbey said Rep. Harris’ comments were “misplaced,” and hit Harris for suggesting that he was “mocking victims,” which he said was “both erroneous and deliberately malicious.”
“I am stunned that Congressman Harris would not have more important issues with which to concern himself than a poorly thought, insensitive post on Facebook made by a teacher,” he said. “To assert that I have somehow discredited my office or violated the trust of the citizens of Harford County is wrong.”