Conservative commentator Charlie Sykes on Sunday slammed Rep. Thomas Massie’s (R-Ky.) shocking holiday greeting card featuring his family with military-style and other rifles as the “equivalent of dick pics for gun extremists,” referring to photos men share in a sad attempt to show off.
MSNBC anchor Lindsey Reiser piped up: “Sorry, everybody, I’m not sure we can say that, Charlie!”
Sykes, founder and editor of The Bulwark and frequent MSNBC contributor, apologized for “being offensive.” But he added, referring to Massie’s equipment: “He’s basically trying to show off. He’s trying to trigger to get the reaction.”
He added: “That is not designed to make a serious argument ... It is designed to show off in this fetish kind of way.”
He called Massie’s photo “obscene,” adding: “That is certainly not the spirit of Christmas. There’s nothing Christmas there.”
Massie triggered outrage with the photo he tweeted last week of his armed family members on the card.
“Merry Christmas,” Massie’s tweet read. “ps. Santa, please bring ammo.”
Merry Christmas! 🎄
ps. Santa, please bring ammo. 🎁 pic.twitter.com/NVawULhCNr
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) December 4, 2021
The message was particularly callous, since it was posted just days after four students were fatally shot at a high school in Michigan’s Oxford Township. Suspected shooter Ethan Crumbley, 15, allegedly used a handgun purchased for him as a Christmas gift by his parents the previous week, according to the local prosecutor.
MSNBC panelists appeared to enjoy Sykes’s perspective. Reiser apologized to any families who may have been offended by the term, and told Sykes: “I hope you keep it cleaner.”
Twitter critics scoffed that children being shot dead in their schools are far more alarming than the phrase.
But followers were gaga over his takedown of Massie — and Sykes was clearly in no mood to backtrack.
Charlie Sykes just compared Thomas Massie’s gun/ammo tweet to a dic pic on air and I’m dead.
— LB (@loves_pinot) December 5, 2021
Charlie Sykes: "dick pix" – related to gun fetishization culture – yep, really, he just said this on MSNBC live. @SykesCharlie
— Christie Cirone 🌊 (@OldSiwash) December 5, 2021
I'll give this to Charlie Sykes: not only was he right, he was also quite righteously angry. https://t.co/ehUyjw5xC6
— Asehpe (@Asehpe) December 5, 2021
Strange the host is worried about “families” hearing that term but not worried about “families” watching the horrifying news these last few days.
— Amy Ottinger (@AmyOttinger415) December 5, 2021
Massie parades his guns, guns, guns, but Charlie Sykes is the "lewd" one. OK
— @PeggyBrava™ #Navalny #Hozho #VotingRights 🗳️ (@PeggyBrava) December 5, 2021
They pretend to be offended by your comment while not being offended by children regularly being shot in our schools.
— Meeks (@FLman1980) December 5, 2021
Keep it up,Charlie. No pun intended.
— Paul Allen (@lap346) December 5, 2021
Check out the full MSNBC interview on the Massie tweet in the video clip up top. Sykes begins talking about the lawmaker’s inadequacies beginning at 0:50.
Also on HuffPost
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.