[Update 1: Updated to include Friedman's response.]
Brandon Friedman is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
On his Twitter feed, the Obama administration spokesman chose to publicly weigh in on the Bergdahl/Taliban prisoner release.
Given the strong feelings in the housing market toward military personnel, Friedman's opinion is worthy of press.
All of the soldiers and NCOs in Bergdahl’s unit who have said he’s a deserter and a traitor could be part of a platoon which may be “long on psychopaths.”
So Bergdahl’s brother soldiers – the ones who didn’t desert, and who risked their lives searching for the flaky wanderer – could be the ones who are the problem.
That's Friedman's take. And take a moment to think about what this is.
This is coming from a paid spokesman for White House housing policy.
He’s suggesting all the brave men who have a problem with the less-than-brave Bergdahl are possibly leaderless, and they’re possibly mentally ill.
Here are the Tweets, straight from the feed, and you can follow Friedman on Twitter @BFriedmanDC.
But Friedman is no fan of “idle speculation.” Oh no.
It’s not at all idle to wonder if Berdahl’s platoon was “long on psychopaths and short on leadership.”
And they’re probably all lying (Tweet 3/5) to cover up the fact that they’re all psychopaths (Tweet 1/5), Friedman says, refusing to engage in “speculation” (Tweet 5/5)
HousingWire reached out to Friedman for comment, but he hasn't responded as of publication.
And if you don’t believe the conclusions of the Pentagon reports on Bergdahl’s desertion, the guy left behind a desertion note that even said he wanted to renounce his citizenship.
Friedman is combat veteran and former Army officer, so his speculation is all the more puzzling, in that it’s premised on insulting a broad swathe of soldiers and presuming they are lying, while simultaneously giving the admitted deserter every benefit of the doubt.
It’s just makes an ugly situation even uglier.
And in case you think I am the only one to take note of all this, it seems Friedman may be feeling some heat already.
Before his tweets, his Twitter bio page listed him proudly as a the deputy assistant secretary for Public Affairs at HUD:
Post-tweets, he's scrubbed that information -- suggesting he wants to distance HUD from his comments:
Bonus: Bergdahl’s squad leader talks with Jake Tapper, calmly asserting that Bergdahl “totally deserted” his fellow soldiers, and explaining that IED attacks against Army convoys became more precise in the immediate aftermath of his desertion.
UPDATE: Through a HUD spokesperson, Cameron French, the following statement was sent to HousingWire.
"I’d like to clarify tweets I wrote last night on my personal Twitter account concerning the return of Bowe Bergdahl. First, I do not speak for the Administration on national security issues in any capacity—public or personal. As a former infantry officer and combat veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan, I have only the highest regard for our servicemen and women. They are my friends, my colleagues, my mentors, my brothers, and sisters. While I just wanted to make the point that the public should wait before passing judgment, I unfortunately used my own poor judgment in choosing inappropriate language that many view as disparaging to U.S. service members. That was certainly not my intent and I regret making the comments on my personal account in such a way. I apologize to those with whom I work in the Administration, at HUD, and, most importantly, to any service members who took offense.” -Brandon Friedman