Dennis Naughton, head of the town’s Democratic Committee and a member of the party’s State Committee, drew fire Friday for comments he posted on congressional candidate Jake Auchincloss’ Facebook page, disparaging Auchincloss’ military career.
Auchincloss and six other Democrats are vying for the 4th Congressional seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III, who is running for U.S. Senate.
Naughton, who supports Jesse Mermell for Kennedy’s seat, characterized Auchincloss’ stint in the Marines, which included service in Afghanistan, as “resume building” and urged him to stop touting his military service as qualification for office.
“Please give it a rest with the military bull s…,” Naughton wrote. “I think we have all had enough of that to last a lifetime.”
Naughton also said one of the photos Auchincloss put in campaign literature looked like it was “photo-shopped.”
It was unclear when Nauthton posted the comments.
Auchincloss’ communications director, Yael Sheinfeld, characterized the post as “tear-down” politics.
“Jake commanded platoons overseas on two tours,” Sheinfeld said. “He commissioned in the Marines to give back to the country and the service that sent his grandfather to college after World War II, and allowed his family to achieve the American dream.
“Mr. Naughton’s disparagement of his military service, and his claims that photos of his service are photo shopped, is disrespectful to everyone who’s worn the uniform, and to their families. This kind of tear-down politics needs to stop.”
The Sun Chronicle emailed Naughton and left a voice mail for him but he did not immediately respond.
A spokesperson for Mermell’s campaign said, “Derogatory comments made about our opponents have no place in this campaign and they don’t reflect Jesse’s values or the views of our campaign. Jesse deeply respects the service of everyone who has worn a uniform in defense of our country. We have made it clear to this supporter and others that we expect our supporters to stay positive.”.
The latest flareup comes after Naughton was called out on Thursday for a remark he made about another candidate in the race, Ben Sigel, a Brookline attorney.
He said Sigel “does not identify as Latinx unless it is convenient.”
In a press release, Sigel, who’s the president of the Hispanic National Bar Association of New England, said he was “extremely disturbed” by the comments.
Naughton, a retired educator, said he did not mean to attack Sigel’s racial background.
“It wasn’t a racial comment. It was an empirical observation,” he said during an interview Thursday.
He later apologized in his Facebook page.
“While my comment was not intended to be offensive, I can now see that it was,” he said. “For that I want to express regret and offer sincere apology.”