Mr. Rogers started trending on Twitter on Thursday after senior Trump campaign adviser Mercedes Schlapp tweeted that watching ABC’s town hall with Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenFighter jet escorts aircraft that entered restricted airspace during UN gathering Julian Castro knocks Biden administration over refugee policy FBI investigating alleged assault on Fort Bliss soldier at Afghan refugee camp MORE was similar to watching an episode of the famous children’s television show "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood."
Schlapp was one of several on Twitter who claimed ABC George StephanopoulosGeorge Robert StephanopoulosSurgeon general: 'Our enemy is the virus. It is not one another' Christie: Biden's new vaccine mandate will 'harden opposition' GOP senator on Texas abortion law: Supreme Court will 'swat it away' when 'it comes to them in an appropriate manner' MORE asked Biden easier questions than NBC moderator Savannah Guthrie did of President TrumpDonald TrumpJulian Castro knocks Biden administration over refugee policy Overnight Energy & Environment — League of Conservation Voters — Climate summit chief says US needs to 'show progress' on environment Five takeaways from Arizona's audit results MORE, who appeared in a town hall that ran at the same time as Biden’s event.
Many Twitter users, however, fired back at Schlapp, saying it was not really an insult to compare Biden to the longtime children's show host, who promoted messages of kindness and patience to young audiences throughout the show’s run from 1968 to 2001.
Democratic strategist and former 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 senior adviser Zac Petkanas tweeted, "Pretty telling that this crew thinks Mr. Rogers is the bad guy.”
Pretty telling that this crew thinks Mr. Rogers is the bad guy. https://t.co/g9aFK7qV6V— Zac Petkanas (@Zac_Petkanas) October 16, 2020
April Reign, who created the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, tweeted that Schlapp’s remark was “the worst self-own I’ve seen this political season, especially since the universally beloved Mr. Rogers was from Pennsylvania, where Biden was tonight.”
This may be the worst self-own I’ve seen this political season, especially since the universally beloved Mr. Rogers was from Pennsylvania, where Biden was tonight. #BidenTownHall https://t.co/dHpCA5S1nA— April (@ReignOfApril) October 16, 2020
Schlapp addressed the responses to her tweet in an interview on Fox News Friday morning, saying "we love Mr. Rogers, but I gotta tell you, those puppets were always a little freaky when I was growing up."
She then added that Biden's town hall was "just a therapy session between George Stephanopoulos and Joe Biden" and that the former vice president didn't face any "tough questions" throughout the night.
Mercedes Schlapp defends her widely dragged tweet trying to attack Joe Biden by comparing him to Mr Rogers: "We love Mr Rogers, but I gotta tell you, those puppets were always a little freaky when I was growing up." pic.twitter.com/iCAXBedPLP— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 16, 2020
The comments come after Biden made a video call to Joanne Rogers, the widow of children's TV icon Fred Rogers, late last month while in her husband’s hometown of Latrobe, Pa., after she described herself as a “very big Biden fan” during an interview with the Daily Beast.
“I think he’s kind,” Rogers said in the interview. “I think we all need somebody like Biden who can give us little pats on the back.”
During the same interview, Rogers called Trump “a horrible person.”
“This man is pathologically ill. Mentally ill,” she said the same week that Trump held a rally in Latrobe.
She rebuked Trump for telling lies when asked why she considers him "horrible."
“I think maybe the fact that Mr. Trump seldom tells the truth,” she said. “If he does, it’s just a fluke, I think. But the fact [is] that I can’t believe anything he says, not even the simplest thing.”
Rogers said that her husband remained silent on his political leanings while he was alive and hosting the children’s show.
“Fred tried to stay pretty quiet about politics, basically because his program was for children,” adding that she can speak her own opinion now that she’s “alone.”
Updated at 10:31 a.m.