|F LoBuono with Jen Palmieri|
It's a simple photograph - two friends meet, greet, and smile. I could never have anticipated the reaction it created.
Jen Palmieri is a friend. The fact that she also happened to be Hillary Clinton's Director of Communication is irrelevant to me. What position people hold in life plays no significant role in who I choose as a friend. The are either good people or they aren't. And, Jen is one of the best.
I met her about 10 years ago when she married one of my closest childhood buddies and we've been good friends ever since. I have always found her to be witty, intelligent, and charming. When you go out to dinner with them, she is often interrupted with important messages from the likes of Leon Panetta or Nancy Pelosi. Still, she is gracious enough to not allow it to divert her full attention from you and the evening. This, I'm sure cannot be easy for either one of them. But, she always seems to be upbeat. When I would run into her while I was covering the campaign, she seemed perpetually smiling - even when her boss was taking a beating over one issue or another. And, she always appeared indefatigable! When I met her at the VP debate in Virginia I expressed to her how exhausted I was just covering the event. I could only imagine how tired she must have been. But, she poo-pooed that smiling, laughing, and saying, "hey, this is what it's all about". I admired her stamina!
When I had this photo made, it was with the idea to send it to her husband (my friend) with the quotation: hey, look who I found!? It was all so INNOCENT. There was absolutely NO political intent what-so-ever: just two old friends sharing a hug and smile.
Then the comments started coming in.
I received ugly, vitriolic posts from people I not only have never met but had NO idea who they even were! Mike M. said: two, very big pieces of worthless SHIT (his capitals). and,"liberal piece of Clinton sucking scum". Brian W. exclaimed: "she's deplorable" and "you should be embarrassed to call her friend." Loretta M-H claimed, "who insults Catholics?"! (referring to a leaked email accusing of anti-Catholic bias. By the way, she IS Catholic).
I can only imagine the ugliness that lurks in the hearts of these people. How can you make a simple photograph of two friends the object of such hate? These people were ANGRY with her AND me, simply because she is my friend and they disagreed with the candidate she represented. Perhaps, this is the new way - the Trump way. He has certainly emboldened the haters to do what they do best: hate.
Look, there is anger and disappointment in the Clinton camp. They failed - miserably. Despite winning the popular vote, she will not be President. This, I'm sure is devastating to Jen and her husband. In fact, I know that it is. And, perhaps, over dinner someday, we can discuss exactly what went wrong. But, that's a conversation for another day.
In the meantime, I am proud to call her friend and will defend that bond for as long as we remain as such, i.e. FOREVER.