20190522_new_iranbacon

Rep. Don Bacon described some Democrats as more concerned about the threat of President Trump than the threat of Iran. “The message from the administration is they don’t want war, but they want to be in position to deter,” Bacon said. “But it just falls on deaf ears because it’s so anti-Trump right now.”

National Democrats are criticizing Omaha’s Republican Rep. Don Bacon for a tweet that makes a joke about bombers and Iranian bingo parlors.

Bacon said he was not trying to promote violence against civilians and called the criticism a “false controversy.”

The initial tweet was from Robert J. O’Neill, a former Navy SEAL sniper who says he fired the shot that killed terrorist Osama bin Laden.

O’Neill tweeted:

“Want to know how to clear out an Iranian bingo parlor?

B...... 52”

Bacon, a retired brigadier general who said he knows O’Neill personally, replied from his personal Twitter account:

“B 2 is even better.”

B-52s and B-2s are both bombers.

Bacon said his tweet was meant lightheartedly and was a joke about how B-2s would be deployed to Iran rather than B-52s.

“He was being figurative in my opinion,” Bacon said. “No one was advocating hurting innocent people.”

Bacon is a member of the House Armed Services Committee.

Mike Gwin, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the group that helps Democrats get elected to Congress, said Bacon was “tweeting cavalierly about war in the midst of a diplomatic standoff.”

“He doesn’t have the judgment needed to represent Nebraska in Congress,” Gwin said.

President Donald Trump has made confronting Iran a cornerstone of his foreign policy and is squeezing its economy to force it to roll back its ballistic missile program and support for groups such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which the U.S. deems a terrorist organization.

Tensions between the two countries have increased in the past month.

On May 8, Iran’s president signaled that stockpiles of nuclear material would soon exceed limits after the U.S. revoked waivers permitting it to be shipped abroad. That declaration was made on the one-year anniversary of the U.S. decision to unilaterally exit the nuclear accord and reimpose sanctions, including on vital oil exports.

Tensions have since spiked further after the U.S. accelerated the deployment of a carrier strike group to the Persian Gulf to counter unspecified Iranian threats, suggested without providing proof that Iran and its proxies were to blame for attacks on ships in the crucial waterway as well as a Saudi oil pipeline, and sent more troops to the region.

Bacon has had disputes with others on social media lately. He said he aims to address constituents with civility but he’ll push back when he sees uninformed or rude comments.

Friday he used his congressional Twitter account to tangle with Jeff Parris, who ran for State Legislature from Sarpy County last year.

Said Parris about Bacon’s response to the recent flooding: “Wait, he took a picture on a bridge with some first responders back during the flooding. That isn’t enough? He got near the water and everything.”

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Bacon replied: “I should have looked harder for you at the Red Cross shelters and donations collection center, and sandbagging at Offutt!”

He earlier also argued with Nebraska Democratic Party Chairwoman Jane Kleeb on Facebook.

Kleeb criticized Bacon’s use of a picture of Malcolm X in a flyer about a meeting concerning a civil rights grant.

“This is not a grant program you created or even run,” she wrote. “You are using it to get votes.”

Bacon called her statement deplorable.

“I believe people will see through your race baiting,” he said. He added that he thinks she seeks to “divide and stir up hate.”

This report includes material from the Associated Press.