Nicholas Kristof apologized on Monday night for a “low blow” after bashing Senate Republicans in a tweet after two bombs killed two and injured up to 100 at the Boston Marathon finish line.
Soon after Twitter exploded with updates and speculation on the dual blasts near Boston’s Copley Square, the New York Times op-ed columnist, who was in town to give a lecture at Northeastern University, wrote: “Explosion is a reminder that ATF needs a director. Shame on Senate Republicans for blocking apptment.”
Kristof linked to a Feb. 1 Washington Post story suggesting GOP lawmakers in the U.S. Senate would try to block President Obama’s appointment of B. Todd Jones to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
The criticism came swiftly.
The conservative Daily Caller called the comment “eyebrow-raising.” Newsbusters said it was “shameful” and chided Kristof for “never [letting] a tragedy go to waste.” And Jeffrey Goldberg, the Atlantic‘s national correspondent and a columnist for Bloomberg View, wrote for the latter:
Part of talking for a living is knowing when to shut up. It is obviously true that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives needs a director. It might even be true that Republicans could try a lot harder to put a director in place. But after an explosion about which we know almost nothing, and in the face of sudden, violent death at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, this is not the time to guess about the perpetrators or to recommend policy fixes that would prevent such attacks from taking place. It certainly is no time to suggest that a political party you happen not to like is to blame for a tragedy about which you know nothing.
At 4:37 p.m., Kristof recanted.
People jumping on me for criticizing Sen Repubs for blocking ATF appointments. ok, that was low blow. i take it back
— Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) April 15, 2013