Republican strategist and consultant Liz Mair came under fire on Friday for saying she burned her 7-year-old son’s Pokémon cards over his refusal to finish all his meals — though she soon revealed that she was deliberately trolling people.
“I have resorted to burning Pokémon cards as a punishment when my kid doesn’t do basic stuff he has to do,” Mair tweeted, adding, “The basic stuff is eating. He comes home without having eaten any of his lunch? Card burnt. He doesn’t eat enough dinner? Card burnt. Bear in mind my kid is about 4’6” tall at age 7 and yet weighs less than 55 pounds. He needs to put some weight on, specifically muscle.”
That eyebrow-raising statement came one day after Mair complained about how “boring” Twitter had become and suggested “tweeting deliberately crazy and offensive stuff just to try to spice it up again.”
And it seems that many Twitter users took the bait. “The boy will be out of the house by his teens if this is what life at home is like,” writer and filmmaker Jesse Hawken tweeted. And he later predicted: “Liz Mair’s going to pivot to ‘I was just kidding that I’m a bad parent! You all fell for it!’ Like any seasoned comms director would do.”
Actor Seth Rogan suggested that Mair, who has worked for top Republicans like Rand Paul, Scott Walker and Rick Perry, should “Save the valuable ones so they can pay for therapy when they’re older.”
Journalist John R. Stanton marveled, “Liz Mair is terrible at communicating basic ideas to a child and resorts to bananas threats and behavior? wow weird would never have seen that coming.”
Reached for comment on Friday, Mair copped to the social-media prank. “While me and my box of matches are no real threat to Pokémon cards (the fire department and everyone on Twitter can rest easy on that front), I will admit to failing to land a lot of jokes and pranks and such over the course of my 43 years,” she told TheWrap. “Clearly, there’s a reason I’ve never been asked to guest-host SNL…”
Some online commenters took the opportunity to resurface other questionable comments by Mair, an occasional guest on HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher” who once claimed that her “only nativist beef” was “Hispanic people who look and sound Mongolian and who I therefore don’t realize I could just communicate with in Spanish instead of English which they don’t speak particularly intelligbly.”
Other suspected, correctly, that Mair might in fact be trolling people. “Liz Mair is lying for attention. Just block her and move on,” political writer Paul Constant wrote.
But others noted that she engaged with people about her initial tweet earlier in the day, and seemed to defend the practice of punishing her son’s eating habits — while also claiming that the 7-year-old was too busy talking about “what happened in the Liverpool game or James Bond or what he saw on the cable news” to actually finish his meal.
And if you’re wondering about those grown-up entertainment choices for a 7-year-old, Mair insisted via email, “My kid totally watches CNN and James Bond films FWIW.”
See more responses to Mair below.
For the record: This post has been updated with Liz Mair’s explanation for her tweets.