A Facebook photo of a handgun posted on Friday by Brad Staats, the Republican nominee for Tennessee's 5th Congressional District, has stirred controversy over its accompanying caption, which concludes with the words "welcome to Tennessee Mr. Obama."
"Many people in Tennessee keep asking me about my opinion on Second Amendment rights. Apparently Tennesseans are part of that crazy crowd that Obama says ‘cling to (their) religion and guns,'" Staats wrote, referencing remarks made by then-candidate Obama at a California fundraiser in 2008. "Well, then I must be part of that crazy crowd. Here is something that I usually have with me. Welcome to Tennessee Mr. Obama."
The photo of a Colt 911 semi-automatic pistol raised concerns among some who thought Staats might be threatening the President.
But the candidate denied any menacing undertones in his message, telling The Tennessean, "I'm not one of those that would ever threaten the president," He continued: "He's probably got enough of his own stuff to worry about without me."
In a follow-up post published yesterday and since removed, Staats asked his followers, "Is our current administration filled with traitors? Is our president a traitor? Is Barak (sic) Hussein Obama qualified to be president?"
The US Secret Service told The Tennessean they were aware of Staats comments and "will conduct any appropriate follow-up if necessary."