Kansas tea party candidate Milton Wolf has apologized for posting graphic X-ray images of gunshot victims on Facebook three years ago and then taking part in online conversations with macabre jokes and making gruesome comments about them.
"My mistakes are my own, and I take full responsibility for them," said Wolf, a radiologist who is attempting to defeat longtime Republican Sen. Pat Roberts in the GOP primary, The Daily Caller
reported. "To those I have offended, I am truly sorry and I ask for your forgiveness."
While insisting there's been no breach of patient privacy, he added, "Several years ago, I made some comments about these images that were insensitive to the seriousness of what the images revealed. Soon thereafter, I removed those images and comments."
Wolf, a second cousin of President Barack Obama, then attempted to pass the blame on to Roberts, saying that the publication of the X-rays and his comments were a "desperate attack" to smear him.
"For them to be published in a much more public context now, by a political adversary who would rather declare war on doctors than answer serious questions that Kansans have, is truly sad," said Wolf, who has been attacking Roberts for not living in Kansas full-time. "Roberts has not been able to identify a single issue on which he thinks I am wrong, and so he's doing things the Washington way: character assassination."
On the Facebook page that's since been disabled, Wolf posted two X-ray photos of a man who had been shot in the head, according to The Topeka Capital-Journal
. One showed the entry wound and the man's head without any hair, while the other showed "fracturing of bone as the bullet entered the head on the right side, as well as about 20 fragments spread across the victim's brain."
In a Facebook comment over another X-ray image he posted, Wolf joked that a man decapitated by gunfire looked like a wounded alien in a "Terminator" film.
During an eight-minute confrontational interview with the Capital-Journal, Wolf declined to say whether he'd continued to post images of dead people on the Internet. Then he stormed off, declaring, "I'm not going to play these kinds of gotcha games."
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Truman Medical Centers in Kansas City, Mo., where Wolf said he obtained the decapitation X-ray, said it would never have given Wolf permission to use the X-ray in such a manner.
John Carney, president of the Center for Practical Bioethics in Kansas City, said, "The dignity and privacy of the individual should be protected. It doesn't sound like they're being protected if they're, obviously, on Facebook."
The outrage sparked a war of words between the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which is backing Roberts, and the Senate Conservatives Fund, which is supporting Wolf, according to Business Insider
"Once again, it is clear that there are a few select groups and organizations like the Senate Conservatives' Fund that fail to properly research candidates or do the necessary work prior to endorsing them, which maximizes risk and hurts the conservative cause," NRSC spokesman Brad Dayspring said. "Time and again, it has been proven that the failure to research and vet candidates results in handing winnable seats to Democrats."
Senate Conservatives Fund Executive Director Matt Hoskins hit back, telling The Daily Caller, "The NRSC failed to do its research on Sen. Pat Roberts' residency and is now supporting a candidate who does not live in Kansas and has been lying to the voters about it for over 15 years.
"The truth is, the NRSC is nothing more than an incumbent protection committee that blindly supports Republicans like Pat Roberts who have helped the Democrats pass bailouts, more debt, and higher taxes."
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