Two weeks after the magazine announced that it had hired Williamson as an Ideas columnist, the magazine’s editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg told staff on Thursday that Williamson has been fired.
Goldberg made the announcement one day after Media Matters for America released audio of Williamson affirming his now-infamous suggestion on Twitter that women who get abortions should be hanged. Via Media Matters, a direct transcript of his remarks:
KEVIN WILLIAMSON (CO-HOST): But yeah, so when I was talking about, I would totally go with treating it like any other crime up to and including hanging -- which kind of, as I said, I’m kind of squishy about capital punishment in general, but I’ve got a soft spot for hanging as a form of capital punishment. I tend to think that things like lethal injection are a little too antiseptic --
CHARLES C.W. COOKE (CO-HOST): Sure, if you’re going to do it.
WILLIAMSON: -- quasi-medical -- yeah, if the state is going to do violence, let’s make it violence.
COOKE: I absolutely agree.
WILLIAMSON: Let’s not pretend like we’re doing something else.
WILLIAMSON: I think in some ways it’s worse than your typical murder. I mean, it’s absolutely premeditated --
COOKE: It’s clinical.
WILLIAMSON: --it’s clinical.
WILLIAMSON: Yes, it’s something that’s performed against the most vulnerable sort of people. And that’s the sort of thing we generally take into account in the sentencing of other murder cases. You know, murdering a four year old kid, is not the same as killing a 21-year-old guy.
In his memo to staff, Goldberg said the transcript proved Williamson’s tweet “was not merely an impulsive, decontextualized, heat-of-the-moment post, as Kevin explained it.” But Williamson’s remarks to Charles C.W. Cooke, an editor at National Review, closely resemble those he made to pro-life website LifeSiteNews after some pro-life leaders criticized his tweets. “I’m queasy about capital punishment in general,” he said, “though I am not against it in all cases. And I do believe that abortion should be treated under the law like any other premeditated homicide.”
The evidence, in other words, has been there, in public, the entire time.