A Trumbull Parks and Recreation Commissioner is defending a comment he made on social media about President Barack Obama, leading to political backlash from state Democrats.

First Selectman Tim Herbst has also spoken out about the comment that started on Facebook and was called out by the Connecticut Democrats’ official Twitter account.

It started when Richard Moore commented on a post by a fellow Trumbull Republican on Facebook. David Pia posted an Internet meme of a Bald Eagle that reads: “We celebrate the 4th of July as a reminder of earning our independence from an oppressive government. Just a reminder to our current administration...There’s plenty of room on the calendar for another holiday.”

On that post, Moore commented: “I am very surprised Obama has not taken a bullet yet...”

A screenshot of the comment made its way to Connecticut Democrats (@CTDems) on Tuesday who tweeted “Oh look, another descpicable, offensive comment by a @CTGOP official. Starting to see a pattern here.” Democrats also called out Herbst, asking “didn’t you appoint this guy to the parks commission?”

Moore spoke to The Times Wednesday.

“This has been blown out of proportion, unbelievably,” Moore said. “I just commented on a meme from David Pia. I was saying, very innocently, in light of all the black churches being burned in the south and the shooting, I am very surprised the violence and mayhem hasn’t reached further, like someone taking a shot at President Obama.”

Moore said he did not make any threat, just a statement.

“You would have to be a half-wit to construe that as a threat,” he said.

Moore said the post was taken down and he wishes it hadn’t been.

“I have nothing to hide,” he said. “I’m not ashamed of anything that I have posted. It was not intended as a threat in any way.”

Moore did not hold back in voicing his opinion about President Obama’s leadership.

“Obama has been the most divisive president in history and all of this is coming back to haunt us,” Moore said. “The church burnings and violence — all the political infighting — it has escalated an unbelievable degree and I blame that on Obama.”

Connecticut Democrats again took to Twitter Wednesday, posting a screen shot of the comment, asking Herbst to respond to it.
“Still no word from @timherbst on his appointee's disgusting, offensive comment,” Democrats tweeted. They later suggested Herbst invite Moore to his planned “Civility Series.”

Herbst stayed quiet Tuesday but shot back on Twitter Wednesday. He tweeted a photo of what he called “The Malloy Appointees.” It featured four photos of officials appointed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who have since been part of criminal investigations or convicted of crimes. Herbst wrote “@CTDems people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”

Herbst told The Times he will not be asking Moore to resign from the Parks and Recreation Commission for the comment.

Herbst said he spoke to Moore and believes that the comment was not intended as any threat.

“If anyone feels there was a threatening statement made toward the President of the United States, they should report it to the proper authorities, rather than take to Twitter for the purpose of political theater,” Herbst said.

Herbst said everything on social media is subject to public scrutiny and he discussed that with Moore.

Herbst called it a “bunch of nonsense” that Connecticut Democrats went on attack, deflecting from a state budget that he said raises taxes on the middle class and is straining working families.

Herbst said that those in both parties should “stop hiding behind their mobile devices” and come to his civility series this fall.

“I can find hundreds of examples of Tweets, Facebook posts and blogging that has been entirely uncivil, but I’m not getting into this game,” he said.