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‘Reprehensible’ tweets about Waukesha parade tragedy sink DuPage Democratic Party’s social media director

“It was probably just self-defense,” Mary Lemanski tweeted Sunday, comparing the driver who plowed into a Christmas parade outside Milwaukee to Kyle Rittenhouse.

Holiday decorations frame a police officer in downtown Waukesha, Wis., after a vehicle plowed into a parade of Christmas marchers, killing multiple people Sunday.
Holiday decorations frame a police officer in downtown Waukesha, Wis., after a vehicle plowed into a parade of Christmas marchers, killing multiple people Sunday.
Jeffrey Phelps/AP

DuPage County Democrats fired their social media director following “callous and reprehensible” posts likening the driver who plowed into a Christmas parade Sunday outside Milwaukee — killing five and wounding 40 — to Kyle Rittenhouse.

“It was probably just self-defense,” Mary Lemanski tweeted Sunday on her personal Twitter account, according to posts republished by Fox News.

“Living in Wisconsin, he probably felt threatened,” Lemanski tweeted about the SUV driver.

The tweets, which have since been deleted, were a mocking reference to the defense strategy used by Rittenhouse, who was acquitted Friday of homicide after killing two men and wounding a third during a Black Lives Matter protest in Kenosha last year.

In later posts Lemanski expressed sorrow over Sunday’s tragedy in Waukesha, Wis.

“I’m sad,” she said. “I’m sad anytime anyone dies.”

“I just believe in Karma and this came around quick on the citizens of Wisconsin.’

She also tweeted: “You reap what you sow, Wisconsin.”

Police canvas debris left following a driver plowing into the Christmas parade on Main Street in downtown Waukesha, Wisconsin.
Police canvas debris left following a driver plowing into the Christmas parade on Main Street in downtown Waukesha, Wisconsin.
Jim Vondruska/Getty Images

Lemanski couldn’t be reached for comment.

On Monday, Democratic Party of DuPage County Chair Ken Mejia-Beal said in an emailed statement: “The Democratic Party of DuPage County immediately severed all ties with Mary Lemanski once [it] became aware of her callous and reprehensible posts,”

Mejia-Beal went on: “She does not speak for us and we unequivocally reject her statements about the tragic events that occurred yesterday in Waukesha. We as a party denounce violence of any kind. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families impacted by this heinous act, which shocked and saddened us all.”

Ken Mejia-Beal participates in a Sun-Times endorsement interview last September during his unsuccessful campaign for a state House seat.
Ken Mejia-Beal participates in a Sun-Times endorsement interview last September during his unsuccessful campaign for a state House seat.
Screen image.

DuPage County Republican Chairman Jim Zay said in a statement: “I am shocked and outraged that a spokesperson for the DuPage County Democratic Party would make light of the tragic loss of life in Waukesha.”

In a phone interview with the Sun-Times, Mejia-Beal said Lemanski had worked part time as a head of social media for several years.

Mejia-Beal said he spoke with Lemanski Monday morning.

“There really wasn’t a lot said. ... She really didn’t explain very much to me at all. There’s not really much to explain,” said Mejia-Beal, who just took over as head of DuPage County’s Democratic Party Nov. 1.

“We 100% do not agree with the words that she used and it was better for her not to be a part of this organization,” he said.

Lemanski, in a now-deleted post to the DuPage Democratic Party’s Facebook page, expressed regret for her remarks that were “not in good taste” and said she resigned.

It’s not the first time Mejia-Beal has called someone out for inappropriate language.

Last year, Mejia-Beal, who is Black and gay, called out Republican state Rep. Amy Grant, who he was trying to unseat at the time, for comments she made in a secretly recorded phone conversation.

State Rep. Amy Grant, R-Wheaton, participates in a Sun-Times endorsement interview last year.
State Rep. Amy Grant, R-Wheaton, participates in a Sun-Times endorsement interview last year.
Screen image.

Democrats held a news conference at the time to play portions of her comments.

In one clip, Grant said Mejia-Beal is “just another one of the Cook County people.”

“The only thing we need is another person on the Black Caucus,” Grant said in one clip.

Grant issued an apology.