AP NEWS

Actor Scott Baio outrages Newtown victims’ families on Twitter

August 28, 2017 GMT

Actor Scott Baio has gone from “Charles in Charge” to a charlatan — in the eyes of parents of the Newtown school shooting victims.

The sitcom mainstay of the 1970s and 1980s recently drew their ire when Baio retweeted an Internet meme that showed the likeness between the mother of Heather Heyer, the paralegal killed by Nazi sympathizer in Charlottesville, Va., and the mother of slain Sandy Hook Elementary School teacher Victoria Soto. It was posted by a conspiracy theorist, who suggested that both tragedies were hoax and involved actors.

Soto’s family immediately called out the “Happy Days” actor, who spoke at last summer’s Republican National Convention and is shown with President Donald Trump in his Twitter profile photo.

“We are deeply disappointed that someone who has such a large audience would use that audience to target victims’ families,” Soto’s family wrote on Facebook. “We tried to reach out to Scott on Twitter and he blocked us. When will enough be enough? We have been through hell and back dealing with hoaxers. From Megyn Kelly giving Alex Jones airtime to Scott sending out pictures to all his followers. We are real people at the other end of these conspiracy theories and it hurts us, deeply.”

At first, Baio responded that retweets aren’t endorsements, but then eventually deleted the item and expressed regret.

“In retrospect, I wish I had thought longer about retweeting that conspiracy photo,” Baio wrote. “I shouldn’t have sent it. It was wrong.”

But the controversy didn’t end there for Baio, whose wife, Renee Baio, became a Twitter pariah Saturday when she told a Newtown victim’s mom, “maybe your children are in a better place.”

The tweet was directed at Nelba Márquez-Greene, who lost her daughter, Ana Grace Márquez-Greene, at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Her son survived the 2012 shooting, which claimed the lives of 20 first graders and six educators.

“I literally threw up in the parking lot of a Big Y,” Márquez-Greene tweeted Saturday of her reaction to Renee Baio’s post.

Change in scenery?

This isn’t a case of gerrymandering.

But local viewers of this week’s House Democratic address, delivered by Connecticut’s Jim Himes at the behest of Nancy Pelosi, could find themselves disoriented.

The backdrop of the segment, which the Pelosi-led minority caucus tweeted out to its 586,000 followers Saturday, may be unrecognizable to some of Himes’ 4th District constituents in the southwestern part of the state.

That’s not the Saugatuck River. It’s not the Byram, Mianus, Norwalk or Housatonic rivers, either.

No, it’s the Connecticut River, with the Goodspeed Opera House and East Haddam Swing Bridge in the background. It’s part of the 2nd Congressional District represented by Himes’ fellow Democrat Joe Courtney.

Himes’ spokesman Patrick Malone said the five-term incumbent from Greenwich was out of state when the opportunity to give the weekly address was extended to him by Pelosi.

“The congressman had the conversation with Leader Pelosi about giving the radio address while he was traveling,” Malone said. “The next 36 hours were very busy as he worked on the address and we found a studio to record it in on the road. Of the backgrounds available in the studio, he chose the one closest to the district. We have eagle-eyed constituents and reporters in the district who spot things like this sometimes, but we feel that a Connecticut river scene from close to home is a more appropriate and less distracting background than, say, the Grand Canyon.”

Himes, who is chairman of the New Democrat Coalition, a group of 61 moderates, used the spotlight to promote his party’s new platform, “A Better Deal,” and to rail on Trump.

Rell offers pointers to women pols

There’s a dearth of top female candidates for governor.

Don’t say that M. Jodi Rell isn’t doing her part to recruit women candidates, however.

The state’s former top office holder from 2004 to 2011 will give the keynote Wednesday for Ready to Run, a nonpartisan training program for women to get involved in politics, hosted by Fairfield University.

“Women who have the desire to be more involved in local politics or run for office, but need only the political preparation and training, can greatly benefit from this program,” Rell said.

Rell, 71, is the last Republican to win a statewide election in Connecticut, earning a four-year term as governor in 2006 after taking over for scandal-ridden John G. Rowland in 2004. In May 2016, Rell changed her residency to Florida, where she owns a second home in New Smyrna Beach. At the time, Rell cited a combination of reasons for her Florida move, from her late husband Lou Rell’s love of their vacation home to “the direction” of Connecticut. She still owns a condominium in Brookfield.

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