When Melissa McCarthy portrayed former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Saturday Night Live, her favorite target was New York Times reporter Glenn Thrush (played by Bobby Moynihan). McCarthy-as-Spicer would yell, “Everybody hates Glenn,” whenever the reporter asked a question.
You can add Washington, D.C.’s homeless population to that list.
Thrush was suspended from the White House beat last year after a string of sexual misconduct allegations.
Instead of firing him, the Times simply moved him to a different beat: covering the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the “social safety net” (systems to help the poor, such as shelters and welfare).
Let’s see how that’s going.
Yes, a reporter meant to cover the plight of the homeless in our nation’s capital is on a Twitter soapbox describing mentally ill people as “talking to invisibles.”
Not surprisingly, Thrush was roundly condemned.
So he deleted the initial tweet, but doubled down on his main point in a series of follow-ups—even reusing the phrase “mentally ill.”
Homelessness is indeed a “very serious problem” in Washington, D.C. The city’s homelessness rate is more than double the national average, and its largest shelter recently shut down, with no clear alternative in sight.
Thrush has covered this story admirably over the last few months, but he still manages to put his foot in his mouth on social media.
That’s partly the reason why Thrush suspended his Twitter account in September—he called the site a “distraction.” He reinstated his Twitter account once he returned to the Times in January.
Of course, in the interim multiple women accused Thrush of initiating “hazy sexual encounters that played out under the influence of alcohol.”
“I have done things that I am ashamed of, actions that have brought great hurt to my family and friends,” Thrush said in a statement. “I am working hard to repair the damage I have done.”
But as one commenter above noted, Thrush has never addressed the allegations on Twitter. And it doesn’t look like that will change anytime soon.