The head spokesman for the Arizona Republican Party wasn’t too happy that two women criticized the extreme politics of the state GOP in a newspaper column this week. So he took to his blog to dismiss it as a “bitch session.”
As first reported by Phoenix television station KTVK, what set spokesman Shane Wikfors off was a piece by longtime Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts.The column was based on an interview she did with local GOP donor Kathy Petsas, whose uncle used to be the director of the state party. It was titled “To dekook Arizona, start with the state Republican Party.”
In it, the two women lambasted the state GOP’s bent toward conspiracy theories and social ideologues rather than the calmer, pragmatic ways of the past. Petsas was quoted as saying the state party had been “hijacked” at the highest levels.
This did not sit well with Wikfors, who was hired as the chief spokesman for the party in August.
“Ms. Petsas ran off to Laurie Roberts and engaged her in a ‘bitch session,'” Wikfors wrote on his blog, Sonoran Alliance. “Frankly, I’m getting a little tired of people like Kathy Petsas and even some of the political consultants who don’t do a damn thing for their Republican Party.”
Wikfors defended his use of the phrase in an interview Wednesday with Phoenix television station KTVK. “It’s a colloquialism,” he said. “It’s universally used. Go to any corporate boardroom and you’ll hear that reference.”
Petsas, meanwhile, was outraged someone would use such the phrase to talk about her.
“It’s reprehensible, that kind of comment,” she told the television station. “It’s inappropriate and unprofessional for someone whose job it is to be a spokesman.”
Nick Martin is an associate editor at TPM in New York City. He came to the site in 2011 as a reporter for TPMMuckraker. Previously, he worked in Arizona, first as a staff reporter for a local newspaper and later as a freelance journalist. He also ran the news blog Heat City. Contact him at email@example.com