Northam appointee resigns after derogatory tweets on Catholics surface

Northam appointee resigns after derogatory tweets on Catholics surface
Virginia State Capitol. (Source: Capital News Service)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT/AP) — One of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s appointees to a state council on women’s issues has resigned after derogatory attacks against Catholics on Twitter surfaced.

Northam spokeswoman Alena Yarmosky told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that the governor “certainly does not condone this language” from Gail Gordon Donegan’s tweets.

“I do not wish to distract from the important work of the council,” Donegan said in a statement on Wednesday. “I will have no further comment besides this statement.”

Donegan says “a small group decided to target the worst of my tens of thousands of tweets and painted a false picture of who I am.”

She says she’ll be taking legal action soon “to ensure this small group is never able to smear someone like this again.”

Full statement:

Gail Gordon Donegan says she'll pursue legal action.
Gail Gordon Donegan says she'll pursue legal action.

Times-Dispatch reporter Patrick Wilson says “no one provided me the information I used for my story. I did all the research, spending more than four hours on a Saturday making screen shots of Donegan’s Twitter history.”

Wilson’s report included a tweet that said “Go tell a Catholic they have dirt on their forehead," in reference to Ash Wednesday.

“In her reference to ‘she’ vs. ‘you,’ what I did was sent my research to the Secretary of the Commonwealth, then I cut and pasted that email to Gail, and I did not change ‘she’ to ‘you’ in that instance,” Wilson said. “Her statement that this proves someone sent me the research is false.”

Donegan says her father was severely beaten in Catholic foster homes. She says her husband is an ex-Catholic “and he’s not offended by my tweets.”

The Catholic Diocese of Arlington expressed disappointment in Northam in a statement for making the appointment after reviewing some of Donegan’s posts. A spokeswoman for the Catholic Diocese of Richmond said the postings were “extremely offensive.”

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