A top aide to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrats worry negative images are defining White House Heller won't say if Biden won election Whitmer trailing GOP challenger by 6 points in Michigan governor race: poll MORE is under fire from Catholic groups for remarks she made in hacked emails published by WikiLeaks, with one group calling on Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri to resign.
In an email exchange from 2011, senior fellow John Halpin at the progressive think tank Center for American Progress sent an email to Palmieri and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta in which he mocked media mogul Rupert Murdoch and Robert Thompson, a former Wall Street Journal managing editor, for raising their children Catholic.
“Friggin' Murdoch baptized his kids in Jordan where John the Baptist baptized Jesus,” Halpin wrote. “Many of the most powerful elements of the conservative movement are all Catholic (many converts) from the SC and think tanks to the media and social groups. It's an amazing bastardization of the faith. They must be attracted to the systematic thought and severely backwards gender relations and must be totally unaware of Christian democracy.”
Podesta did not respond to the email chain, but Palmieri weighed in:
“I imagine they think it is the most socially acceptable politically conservative religion,” she wrote. “Their rich friends wouldn't understand if they became evangelicals.”
The Catholic League, an anti-defamation organization, blasted the Clinton campaign for the exchange.
“These anti-Catholic remarks are bad enough but it makes one wonder what else Clinton’s chiefs and others associated with the campaign are saying about Catholics and Catholicism,” the group said in a statement.
A politically conservative group called Catholic Vote, which claims 500,000 members, is demanding Palmieri resign.
“Everyone has a unique faith journey, and it’s just insulting to make blanket statements maligning people’s motives for converting to another faith tradition,” Brian Burch, the group’s president, said in a statement. “Had Palmieri spoken this way about other groups she would dismissed. Catholics will be watching Hillary Clinton to see whether she thinks our religious faith should be respected, or whether it’s fair game to mock us.”
The Clinton campaign has not returned a request for comment, but Democratic officials have sought to cast doubt on the authenticity of the hacked emails by arguing they were obtained by Russian intelligence.