Stow Mayor Sara Kline has asked for privacy for her family after a barrage of online criticism was posted last week on social media against her husband, Robert Kline, regarding comments he posted on Twitter directed at President Donald Trump.
"This is a matter we are dealing with as a family. I hope people can understand and respect that," the mayor told the Stow Sentry in a Feb. 23 email. "I love and support my husband, but he does not speak for me or anyone else. He is not an elected official or public employee -- he is a private citizen. What he said was rude and offensive, and he has apologized to me and our family. I ask for privacy on this issue so we can work through it as a family."
Screen captures from the account shared online from other sources showed vulgar language and images being used by the mayor's spouse while responding to tweets sent from the president's account. His Twitter account has since been deleted and the the mayor's personal Facebook page and Twitter page are not accessible.
Shortly after the public criticism surfaced, Mayor Kline posted this statement on her personal Facebook page:
"The 1st Amendment allows people the freedom to express themselves, even when we don't like what is said, or how it is said. With that in mind, I speak for myself and myself alone. My family members, friends, colleagues all have the right to express themselves. It does not mean I necessarily support or condemn what they have said. I love my family and support my husband and everyone else in my family even if I disagree with their viewpoint or their words. I wish everyone reading this peace, happiness and much love from your own family and friends!"
Stow Council President Mike Rasor commented on the situation on his own website last week.
"Our government has never been run with more efficiency or ingenuity or cohesiveness. Mayor Sara Kline gets credit for a lot of that. She's a Democrat. I'm a Republican. Still, I don't have a problem saying that. But things aren't always roses in politics,," wrote Rasor.
"Rob Kline has been appropriately called on the carpet for these tweets, which have a definitive tone of misogyny, racism, and violence," Rasor added. "This has become a major issue, so there should not be any doubt among Stow residents: City Council wholly rejects these tweets."
Rasor also shared an email the mayor had sent city employees regarding the controversy.
"As you may have seen on social media, or heard from other sources, my husband posted some very inappropriate tweets earlier today. I do not condone his language or the way he expressed his feelings about some political issues. I love and support my husband but we strongly differ on this issue. He has apologized to me, our daughters and is sincerely sorry that his emotions got the best of him. As we work through this family matter, what also concerns me is the well being of our organization and all of you.
"Unfortunately, this has become a matter of discussion on social media sites and the local media. For that, I apologize to all of you.
"In no way do I wish to cause embarrassment or concern for any of you. Should you be contacted, please direct people to me. I will handle any and all concerns from citizens as this is solely my responsibility to deal with.
"I cannot express how much the City of Stow means to me and how I truly love our organization. I sincerely apologize that a misstep on the part of my family member may reflect poorly on our our organization and the good work we do every day to improve people's lives."