Herald editorial board

State Rep. Mary Adams finds herself in turmoil as she nears the end of her first session in the North Dakota Legislature.

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live

Adams, a Democrat, represents District 43 - roughly the center of Grand Forks. Earlier this week, she made a post on the internet that compares President Trump to Adolf Hitler. The post shows the president's face superimposed over Hitler's body, with text that reads: "The only thing that's worse than a wanna-be tyrant is the corrupt party that protects and enables him."

It's not the first of her provocative posts. In February, she wrote: "I did this civics test on Facebook. Just realized if anything happened to the president and vice president, Nancy (Pelosi) as speaker of the House would become president. We can always dream!"

Certainly, such posts are not unique in today's world of social media, and proponents of both political sides are guilty. Once again, it becomes a great example of the associated problems of free speech - the people who are posting fiery comments are of course legally able to do it, but they must face the fallout when they do it.

We don't approve or condone the posts made by Adams. Any post that hints at harm to the president or vice president - any president or vice president - is inappropriate and especially so for a sitting lawmaker and leader.

Because Adams represents the people and because she dreams of something unfortunate happening to top U.S. leaders, we're disappointed. But it's actually not what disappoints us most.

That would be Adams' decision to not comment about the posts when asked. Thursday, Adams told the media that she has been advised by her husband to not comment on the controversy.

We know Mary Adams. In fact, anyone who gets around in Grand Forks either knows her, sees her or knows of her. She's a service club member, a volunteer and a great community booster. She made news late last year when she won the seat in District 43, upending a Republican incumbent.

But that November victory meant something: It pushed her from a pleasant and liked volunteer to a lawmaker and leader in a statewide spotlight. She must know that acidic anti-Trump posts will be criticized in a state that showed 63 percent support for the president and in a county that showed 55 percent support.

House Minority Leader Josh Boschee, D-Fargo, said he considers Adams' social media posts a distraction. He planned to have a meeting with Adams about her online comments.

That means Boschee has an advantage her constituents do not, and that's unfortunate.

Adams has the right to say or post whatever she wants. But she should do so knowing she may be critiqued and also may have to answer questions about it.

She wanted to be a leader and she was elected to be one. Posting provocative comments that hint at violence and then hiding behind a "no comment" is beneath the office Adams now holds.