A Democratic state legislator in Pennsylvania “welcomed” Vice President Mike Pence to Philadelphia on Tuesday with a middle-finger salute.
Rep. Brian Sims (D-Philadelphia) posted a Facebook photo Tuesday of himself giving the middle finger to protest the vice president’s trip to the city for a Republican Governors Association fundraising event.
“OFFICIAL WELCOME: @MikePenceVP let me be the first to officially welcome you to the City of Brotherly Love and to my District!” Sims’ social media posts on Facebook and Twitter read. “We’re a City of soaring diversity. We believe in the power of all people: Black, Brown, Queer, Trans, Atheist, & Immigrant. So … get bent, then get out!”
The 39-year-old Democrat is the first openly gay legislator in the Pennsylvania state house, and took the opportunity to use the obscene gesture as a way to appeal to his base of supporters.
Some of his supporters cheered the brazen gesture while other supporters warned him that his conduct in the photo is “unprofessional.”
“This is a worthy fight and I am so grateful to see someone in office expressing some actual anger at this monstrosity of a dictatorship,” one left-wing supporter wrote.
“I’m a supporter but posing for this picture is unprofessional and makes you seem crude. You can take Pence down more effectively by challenging his words and actions. You’ll be judged more harshly than he is,” another supporter wrote.
But opponents also flooded the comment section of his picture, deriding the state lawmaker’s actions as “disrespectful” and “childish,”
“Disrespectful … we need to get back to being classy in disagreements … happy you don’t represent me,” one Facebook user wrote.
“This is exactly why Trump got elected! So unprofessional and childish for a supposedly elected official!” another user chimed in.
Although the posts have received plenty of backlash, Sims had not deleted them as of Thursday afternoon. His posts have gained a massive following on social media, getting more than 39,000 likes on Facebook and nearly 6,000 retweets.