Florida county spokesman on leave after dig at Trump in Facebook photo – Journal Important Web

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Mathieu Cavell, Leon County government’s chief spokesperson, is on administrative leave after appearing in a July 4 Facebook post in which he and others used Independence Day sparklers to spell out the phrase “F— MAGA” – with Cavell being the final “A” in MAGA.

The photo was posted July 4 by his wife Kathleen Cavell, a veterinarian at Northwood Animal Hospital. The post, which has since been removed, said, “We’ve done it again y’all – SPARKLER ART! … Happy 4th.”

MAGA is short for “Making America Great Again,” the longtime motto of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. It’s also used to refer to Trump’s political supporters.

The sparkler photo soon sparked reaction from Evan Power, chair of both the Leon County Republican Party and state GOP, who reposted it to X with the comment that Cavell had a “uniting 4th of July message to share.” That was reposted by the Leon GOP X account, after which other local conservatives quickly piled on.

By Monday, County Administrator Vince Long – Cavell’s boss – sent a memo to county commissioners that the County Attorney Chasity O’Steen and the human resources department would be “conducting an immediate and thorough review” to “ensure that no county policies were violated.”

Long also wrote on X that “the post … does not express any official position of the county, was not made on an official county platform, was not posted during work hours, and was not posted by a county employee.”

But he added that the county government is “committed to serving everyone” and that “diversity of thought, expression and perspective is important for all citizens, including county employees.”

Cavell, when contacted by the Tallahassee Democrat for comment, said he could not speak on the matter while the review was ongoing. Another county spokesperson confirmed that Cavell, whose official job description is “Community Relations and Resilience,” would be on leave pending the review.

While the photo made its rounds on social media, most elected officials remained quiet, but Leon County Commissioner David O’Keefe and Tallahassee City Commissioner Jeremy Matlow spoke out on their own social media accounts.

O’Keefe responded with a screenshot of the First Amendment and said Leon County employees “enjoy freedom of speech in their personal lives.”

Matlow added that “free speech will no longer be permitted on the 4th of July in the MAGA GOP.”

Power asked Matlow online whether he had no issues with the post, even though it involved a county employee. Matlow answered: “I think ‘Let’s go Brandon’ flags are tacky, but I’ll fight for your right to fly one.”

The county did not give an estimate on when the review would conclude, but Long told commissioners in his memo, “I do not expect the review to take long.”

Arianna Otero is the City Solutions Reporter for the Tallahassee Democrat. Contact her via email at [email protected] or on Twitter/X: @ari_v_otero.

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Source Link: https://www.tallahassee.com/story/news/local/2024/07/08/leon-county-spokesman-placed-on-leave-after-facebook-photo-controversy-mathieu-cavell/74327576007/

Florida county spokesman on leave after dig at Trump in Facebook photo – Journal Important Web

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