WASHINGTON — Congressman Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky) wished his followers a "Merry Christmas" Saturday, posting a photo of himself and others holding guns in front of a tree.
"Merry Christmas," Massie tweeted. "p.s. Santa, please bring ammo."
The tweet garnered a lot of attention on social media, including criticism for posting a picture holding a weapon just four days after a Michigan high school shooting left four dead and others injured.
Dion Green, one of 10 people who survived the 2019 Dayton mass shooting, said the card triggered horrifying memories from the day his life changed. The gunman shot and killed nine people, including Green's father, Derrick Fudge, who died in his arms.
"This is something that I will never lose, that I will never forget...all the bodies," Green said.
Green said Massie's tweet had a strong impact on him and other survivors — especially because it came hours after the alleged Michigan high school shooter's parents were charged in the case.
"To see each one of his family members with them guns, it was...I'm telling you, it was scary looking — especially the one he had," Green said. "He's just showing these types of weapons loud and proud while we're still sitting here hurting, still crying, still grieving."
Massie retweeted and liked some replies, including praise and criticism, but his office has not responded to WCPO sister station LEX 18's request for comment.
Green said he is now focused on helping survivors through his nonprofit, Fudge Foundation, and started a scholarship program for young African-Americans studying to get into social service work.
Merry Christmas! 🎄— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) December 4, 2021
ps. Santa, please bring ammo. 🎁 pic.twitter.com/NVawULhCNr
Massie was first elected to Congress in 2012 and represents the 4th District, covering Northern Kentucky.
The Kenton County Democrats released a statement criticizing the post and saying, "the people of Kentucky's 4th Congressional District deserve better."
“Congressman Thomas Massie’s photo is morally reprehensible and makes a mockery of victims of gun violence across this country and here in the commonwealth. The fact that a sitting U.S. Congressman would post something so insensitive when the families of four teenagers are currently grieving the loss of their loved ones, only days after being gunned down in a public school in Michigan, is in poor taste and absolutely shameful.
“The Republican Congressman should take down the photo immediately and issue an apology to each of the families of the four students killed at Oxford High School.
“We have already witnessed too much loss due to irresponsible behavior and posting a picture celebrating assault weapons is more of the same. The people of Kentucky’s 4th Congressional District deserve better.”
Massie is no stranger to controversy.
In August 2021, he posted a tweet that had an image criticizing vaccine requirements using Holocaust imagery. Lexington Rabbi Shlomo Litvin called the post "shameful." Massie did delete that tweet.
Kentucky's lone Democratic US Representative, John Yarmuth, posted his reaction with some profane language.
I’m old enough to remember Republicans screaming that it was insensitive to try to protect people from gun violence after a tragedy. Now they openly rub the murder of children in our faces like they scored a touchdown. Disgraceful.— Rep. John Yarmuth (@RepJohnYarmuth) December 4, 2021