A West Virginia lawmaker is under fire after he tweeted on Friday that presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton should be "hung on the Mall in Washington, D.C."
West Virginia delegate Michael Folk, R-Berkeley, wrote in a tweet to Clinton: "You should be tried for treason, murder and crimes against the U.S. Constitution… then hung on the Mall in Washington, D.C."
Folk's Twitter account has since been made private.
"To think that a person in a leadership position in our state can say these types of things is baffling and should not be tolerated," Belinda Biafore, chair of the West Virginia Democratic Party, said in a news release. "It makes me very (worried) for the people of West Virginia that someone who can feel this type of hate and use this type of rhetoric is in any position of power."
The state's Democratic Party has called for Folk's resignation.
Speaking with The Associated Press on Sunday, Folk said his comments were "hyperbole."
"The biggest misconception is that for some reason, everybody thinks I made a death threat, which I did not," he said. "Clearly it was not that."
Folk told the AP he took to Twitter after he watched a video of testimony before a U.S. House committee related to Clinton's emails. The U.S. Department of Justice announced earlier this month the former secretary of state would not face charges over the way in which she handled classified information.
"People do wrong (and) they need to be held accountable," Folk told the Charleston Gazette-Mail. "And exercising a First Amendment right is not necessarily doing wrong."
Folk works as a pilot for United Airlines, a position he has held since 2008. The airliner announced Sunday on social media that Folk had been suspended from his flying duties pending an investigation.
"We are appalled by his threatening comments," United wrote on Twitter.
Folk told the AP he has received death threats for his tweet. He's currently seeking a third term in the West Virginia House of Delegates.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.