Last week, the husband of one of Alabama’s leading Senate candidates disavowed, in the strongest terms, the fact that he had “liked” some potentially damaging tweets.
He even implied that someone else must have done the liking of those tweets—possibly at the behest of the “anti-Trump Big Tech backers” of his wife’s opponents, as he put it in his statement to the Alabama news site 1819 News.
But the tweets aren’t even that bad. What’s going on here?
Some context: Wesley Britt, the tweet liker, is married to Katie Britt, who is running against several other Republicans in the Alabama primary for this year’s midterm elections. In recent months, her campaign has tacked further to the right, hoping for Donald Trump’s endorsement.
Trump had endorsed one of Britt’s opponents, Rep. Mo Brooks, but recently pulled that support after Brooks, traditionally one of Trump’s most full-throated backers, said his campaign needed to start focusing on future elections instead of fixating on the former president’s claims of a stolen presidential one. (Big mistake.)
Britt, a former aid to longtime Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby and—at one point—the relatively mainstream conservative alternative to the firebrand Brooks, had in the past been a target of Trump’s mockery. But with Brooks sinking in the polls, she suddenly found herself competing with another candidate, Mike Durant, for Trump’s endorsement. That contest is still in full swing.
So now, a tweet Wesley Britt liked from Sept. 2016 that said “we just watched a man meltdown on live TV” during the Trump-Clinton presidential debate isn’t great for his wife’s political prospects.
Neither is the one Wesley liked in Aug. 2020 that blamed “Trump’s America” for Kyle Rittenhouse’s violence in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Other tweets that Wesley now denies having liked include one in which Congresswoman Terri Sewell, an Alabama Democrat, called for further expanding voting rights, and others that were defending Britt’s own wife against criticism.
More specifically, in May 2021, when the news broke that Katie was about to enter the Senate race, Donald Trump Jr. called Katie Britt “the Alabama Liz Cheney”—meant disparagingly—and Britt liked a tweet with the defensive response: “Stay out of Alabama politics. Katie Boyd Britt is no Liz Cheney. Your dad was a great president but he is not anymore.”
Similarly, in July 2021, President Trump put out a statement saying that Katie Britt was “not in any way qualified and is certainly not what our country needs,” and Katie Britt responded with a video post, saying she “wouldn’t run to somebody else for cover and have someone else fight for me.”
Wesley Britt liked a response to his wife’s statement that said, in a tone meant to reassure Katie, “You knew his idiot ass would chime in at some point…..don’t sweat it.”
So, to recap, the Senate candidate’s husband liked two tweets—one from a state Democrat, one that was critical of Donald Trump—six years ago, waited four years before liking another single critical tweet, and then last year liked two tweets that defended his wife. Seems innocuous enough.
But rather than ignore the story, or try to contextualize his thoughts—or even just point out the mildness of these Twitter interactions—Wesley Britt responded by implying he had been a victim of some kind of cyber attack.
“This is an absolute lie—I never liked those tweets,” Wesley Britt said in his statement to 1819 News, which reported the existence of these likes. “Just like Big Tech maliciously and wrongly banned President Trump and helped rig the election against him, I have no doubt that the anti-Trump Big Tech backers of Mike Durant will falsify anything to help him win.”
Wesley Britt went on to insist he had always been a major Trump supporter, going back to his days as a player on the New England Patriots, when he “enjoyed visiting with him in the Patriots locker room.” (While it remains an open question how much Alabama fans really care about their team when they’re in the ballot box, it should be noted that in addition to being a former NFL player, Wesley Britt was also a captain of the University of Alabama football team.)
Wesley’s response wasn’t just a personal defense; Katie Britt campaign’s spokesman also accused the campaign of Mike Durant of trying to sabotage his opponent.
“After being exposed for his close ties to the Lincoln Project and backing by anti-Trump Big Tech execs in California, Mike Durant is desperately and sadly shopping all kinds of absurdities,” the spokesman said to 1819 News. “Once again, Mike Durant is making things up…”
It’s not clear if the campaign is implying that the tweets were fabrications (as of the time of this writing, Britt’s account still has liked all of these tweets) or if someone had hacked Britt’s account to like those tweets. If it’s the latter, the Britts may be relying on doubt sown by a genuine effort to influence the 2017 Alabama Senate special election by undermining Roy Moore. But even that high-tech effort never went as far as hacking individual Twitter accounts.
One would wonder, in that scenario, why such an effort would be limited to a few tweets from long ago.
We’ve seen this kind of thing before. Remember when Sen. Ted Cruz’s official account briefly “liked” a porn tweet? (His office blamed a staffer for a slip of the finger.) People “like” tweets that they might later regret all the time.
Fortunately for the Britts, virtually no one in Alabama seems to care about this story. Which means Wesley Britt can safely go back to doing what a good candidate spouse does: Repeatedly liking—and sometimes retweeting—every single one of his wife’s tweets. The Republican primary is on May 24.