Letter to the Editor: Giarrusso ‘Pinkwave’ Response Distasteful

by | Oct 12, 2018

This letter is addressed to Representative Anthony Giarrusso. First, I want to preface this by saying that I don’t know either you or Mrs. Justine Caldwell personally. I have no prior relationship with either of you that would bias this comment.

I would like to express my extreme disappointment in you and/or your campaign for your response to the obviously fraudulent “pinkwave” letter.  The letter itself, I think we can all agree, is absurd and deplorable.  It seems to me that there are two plausible sources for it.  I don’t believe it likely that either campaign would produce this letter directly.  The Giarrusso campaign would be vilified for such a tactic and the letter is so poorly-written, sensationalist and obviously incendiary towards voters coveted by Mrs. Caldwell, that believing it could be from her campaign is nearly impossible.  Insinuating that any voter of marginal intelligence could read this letter and believe it authentic strains credulity.  Therefore, we are left with some person or group supporting one of the two campaigns as potential sources.  At this point both sides claim that they are unaware of any entity producing this letter.  For a moment, let’s assume both honest and uninvolved in the letter’s creation and distribution.

Concentrating on what we know, then. Mr. Giarrusso, I find your proliferation of this letter and its accompanying message distasteful and hypocritical.  Without first reaching out to your opponent’s campaign or verifying any source for this material, you emailed many residents, appeared on talk radio and posted to social media blaming Mrs. Caldwell and her campaign.  This is completely irresponsible if not reprehensible.  You didn’t extend her or her campaign the basic courtesy that I would expect of any member of this community, the opportunity to refute a hurtful claim directly before you promoted it.  As a longtime resident and politician, I would think you have more respect for people and the political process than you are currently displaying. You claim to have contempt for this kind of politics and dirty tactics, you cry out and rail as a victim and protest this egregious attack on your character, but at this moment, sir, you are the only one we can clearly see demonstrating the type of behavior you allegedly detest.  In your continued promotion of this letter you are proving yourself to be the worst kind of political animal and a hypocrite. All of your pining for decency sounds empty in this context.  You should be embarrassed by this behavior. It is not becoming of a supposed leader in this community or the person who would like to represent this district. If you truly want to bring some dignity into this process, then you should measure your responses and not attempt to exploit the fantastical for political gain without any regard to the reputation of your opponent or the decorum of the political process.  You claim that you want to restore civility in your district, or at least be a part of that restoration, but actions and words like yours only show anyone having the slightest bit of sense that you aren’t the right person to facilitate that process. I hear many of your supporters extol your virtues, but unless you are incredibly obtuse or ignorant to the point of incapability on this matter, I cannot believe that the man they praise is the same one I am observing now.

Respectfully,

Christopher J. Fluehr

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21 Comments

  1. Patricia C. Ricci, MD

    Outstanding letter! I am in complete agreement. Mr. Giarrusso’s antics clarify how gravely unqualified he is to honorably represent his community. Justine Caldwell has exhibited consummate magnanimity and grace under pressure. East Greenwich would be most fortunate to have her as their most capable and intelligent representative.

    Reply
  2. John Galt

    I cannot understand Mr. Fluehr’s “shoot the messenger” perspective. This abominable letter was first and foremost aimed at discrediting Mr. Giarrusso, not Ms. Campbell. And Mr. Giarrusso at least publicly denied any involvement; we have not heard the same from Ms. Caldwell.

    Reply
    • Christopher Fluehr

      John – Mrs. Caldwell (Campbell?) has refuted this letter publicly several times across several media and did this within hours of her awareness of it. After which Mr. Giarrusso continued to claim that her campaign was responsible. You’re simply incorrect.

      Reply
    • David Caldwell

      Your last statement is provably false. Contrary to what you, and Rep. Giarrusso, have falsely been saying, Justine made several public statements condemning the letter. Here’s one. https://www.facebook.com/justine4ri/videos/246516842658199/. Here’s another: https://www.facebook.com/justine4ri/posts/677901239241062.

      Rep. Giarrusso is the only candidate to have published the content of this obviously fake letter, and has done so aggressively — using E-mail, social media, making multiple appearances on talk radio — and directly and falsely accusing Justine Caldwell of having consented to having the letter sent out.

      The letter is obviously not intended to discredit Rep. Giarrusso. It’s obviously satire. I’m surprised someone well-read enough to be using a literary pseudonym to make anonymous political attacks doesn’t recognize the genre.

      This letter is an attempt to distract East Greenwich voters from the issues facing Rhode Island, none of which have anything to do with the obviously ridiculous content of the letter.

      Reply
  3. Len Tinkoff

    Why not state your objection to the actions you accuse Mr. Giarusso of and be done with it? Why devote the bulk of your response to a descent through hyperbole, political trashing, and psychological diagnosis if you abhor these behaviors so? And verbal wheelies such as calling Mr. Giarusso “the worst kind of political animal and hypocrite” is untrue, if the nightly news is any indicator.

    Reply
    • Christopher Fluehr

      Len – That’s the point, I’m not accusing Mr. Giarrusso of anything, I said I don’t believe either campaign responsible for the letter. I am holding him accountable for his actions following the letter’s release, no accusation necessary, he’s on record. I certainly never said I abhor hyperbole (and I very literally mean everything in the letter) or psychological diagnosis (though, having studied Psychology, I fail to see where that applies). You can call this “political trashing” if you like but if we, the citizenry, don’t point out our politicians’ hypocrisy and hold them to a higher standard, then, who will? As for my “verbal wheelies” I’m not sure if you’re calling the nightly news fake or saying that they report on other politicians doing the same thing (or worse) as Mr. Giarrusso. Either way, he should be held to the same standards, no? And in this case, he promoted fake news for political gain and in doing so failed to live up to his own supposed standard.

      Reply
  4. Christopher Rennick

    I received the Pink Wave letter as well and while I didn’t believe it was something Ms. Campbell wrote; I have been part of enough political campaigns to know that it also had NO UPSIDE for Mr. Giarrusso what so ever. The current “Mob mentality” strategy by Democrats across the country in wake of the ludicrous treatment of SCOTUS Kavanaugh is to create anger in any way possible. Now I don’t have any evidence to which side wrote the letter but I would say it benifited the Campbell Campaign way more than the Giarrusso campaign.
    This unneeded editorial attacking Mr. Giarrusso’s Campaign On it’s response to this letter is a prime example. This letter got people
    talking about something that Giarrusso simply did not do, yet Ms. Campbell’s campaign is still letting him be blamed for it; which in my experience says it was likely sent by a supporter of hers rather than his. This is another accusation of wrongdoing that without any shred of evidence is being blamed on the Republican. Sounds too familiar. The letter was so poorly written it was clearly a stunt. It should be left as a stunt by some idiot with to much time on thier hands. Ms. Campbell’s campaign has not commented on the letter to my knowledge and Mr Giarrusso has every right to defend himself for something he obviously did not do. Please stop with the partisan politics at the town level and let’s get this town we all love back in shape regardless of who wins.

    Reply
    • Christopher Fluehr

      Christopher – I explicitly stated that I do NOT think the Giarrusso campaign produced the letter. I was commenting only on his behavior following it, a response he is 100% responsible for, something he most certainly did do. There is no accusation of wrongdoing concerning the letter here. Seems as though you may have misunderstood the point, or, perhaps your own partisanship provoked your response. In fact, I agree with your desire to stop the partisan politics, but you’re making MY point. That’s exactly what I would have expected from a leader in EG in response to the letter while we’re so divided, and Mr. Giarrusso did precisely what would further the partisan divide without any attempt to source the letter. You should be agreeing with me, if bipartisanship and respect are what you’re seeking. Also, her name is “Caldwell” and she denied involvement in the letter across several media as soon as she became aware of it. See above for her responses and their timing. You must have missed them, possibly because you were searching for a response from “Campbell?”

      Reply
  5. Jennifer Souther

    Personally, I think we are way beyond the “Pink wave” letter at this point. DR. Caldwell has consistently listened to constituents, asked for their input and concerns, and been upfront about her political views and ideas. Mr. Giarrusso seems to answer about his views and goals only when pressed, and then what he does say is often marginal at best. I was at the debate. I was personally slighted 3 times by Mr. Giarrusso’s comments, ideas, and values in about 5 minutes. I know it’s hard, but try to ignore all the campaign tactics, etc. when you (hopefully) go to the polls on November 6th. Let your voice be heard in support of a candidate who has similar values and goals as you do. This is not a popularity contest, it’s your civic duty and our future.

    Reply
  6. Katy Essington

    That is not true- JOHN GAULT. Ms. Caldwell’s campaign (helps to get the name right) has put out numerous statements asserting that she had nothing to do with the letter, and had no knowledge of its contents prior to its distribution. I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Fluehr. Mr. Giarusso took the low road by further disseminating this piece of garbage for political gain. That is not the way decent people conduct themselves, nor does it promote civility.

    Reply
  7. John Galt

    I am not aware that Ms Caldwell has ever denied involvement with the Pinkwave letter. She calls it “scary” and “distasteful,” but I have seen not one instance of her saying “not me.” Several journalists apparently wanted to interview her about the letter, but she refused. This is not the behavior of someone who knows nothing about what went down. If she wasn’t involved, why not just say so? Why just circle around the issue with vague responses? Don’t understand why she can’t be unequivocal.

    Reply
  8. David Caldwell

    First sentence of Dr. Caldwell’s statement linked above: “This disgusting mailer was clearly written by an opponent attempting to harm my candidacy.” Obviously this is an assertion she was not involved.

    Reply
  9. Dean

    That is by no means a clear and unequivocal denial of involvement. Inferring denial is one possibility; courting controversy for political gain is another… Not saying that’s what I think, just saying that possibility is just as easily inferred. Curious, how has Rep Giarrusso failed EG in his role at the statehouse? From my standpoint, he has done admirably well. Thanks…

    Reply
  10. David Caldwell

    You’re just playing word games. Justine is not “an opponent attempting to harm [her own] candidacy.” Thus, her statement that an opponent wrote it is an assertion someone other than herself (or someone supporting her candidacy) wrote it.

    It’s a shame that whoever wrote this letter has provided so much distraction already. I’m confident Justine won’t be returning to this subject in order to try to satisfy you by using the exact words you dictate she use. That would play right into the letter writer’s hands — and the hands of the people aggressively promoting the letter — by continuing to allow it to distract from the very real issues our district and State face, and that Justine has spent two years discussing.

    Reply
  11. John Galt

    David, you are doing the distracting. What’s so hard about saying “wasn’t me.” Your dissembling raises greater concerns that you know more you’re willing to say – right out of the Trump book. Just say no, and put this issue to bed. No more “assertions.” Just say no.

    Reply
  12. David Caldwell

    Justine was not the author of the letter, nor was she involved in its creation, nor does she know anything about how it came to be.

    Clear enough?

    Reply
    • John Galt

      Is a mouthpiece always necesssry? I would like to hear from the candidate herself. Why is this so difficult for a candidate who preaches transparency? What are you hiding?

      Reply
      • Patricia C. Ricci, MD

        Mr. Galt,
        Continuously seeing your ridiculous blathering in my EG News newsfeed is getting laborious, quite frankly. Watch Dr. Justine Caldwell’s video in which she EXPLICITLY discusses how blatant a parody this letter is. Anyone with a modicum of a cerebrum instantaneously recognizes this. I suggest you learn Dr. Justine Caldwell’s correct name spelling AND do some necessary, in depth research of the important issues facing all of East Greenwich. THIS is what matters and this is what all responsible voters should be focusing on.

        Reply
        • John Galt

          Basic honesty is what’s at stake and what matters, and I have in this instance seen none from Ms Caldwell and her campaign. Would not have been an issue if immediately she had said “not me” instead of circling around the issue. She didn’t. And you defend it laboriously.

          Reply
          • Patricia C Ricci, MD

            She has. Repeatedly. Unequivocally. Inexorably. You, sir, are the only one perseverating. Perhaps, some remedial reading comprehension? East Greenwich is most fortunate to have such a qualified, intelligent, and ethical candidate for state representative. #VOTEJUSTINECALDWELL

      • David Caldwell

        You’re just politicking, Mr. “Galt.” You already have heard from the candidate herself via private E-mail. The first words of her E-mail to you were: “The letter was not from me.” Sent to [email protected] nearly two weeks ago.

        No, you are not going to hear from the candidate herself. Two weeks later, she’s moved on to issues of concerns to residents of the district.

        Reply

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