GOP Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois took aim at House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik and warned that “politics are failing” after accusing Democrats of being pedophiles.
Kinzinger, who is not seeking re-election this year, has become increasingly critical of fellow Republicans over the past year and a half after former President Donald Trump attempted to overturn the 2020 election results. While most GOP lawmakers have aligned themselves with the former president, the Illinois Republican has taken a strong stand against Trump’s false claims and efforts to undermine the Democratic process.
Stefanik, representing New York, was elected to the role of conference chair by other members of the GOP House after Rep. Liz Cheney, a Wyoming Republican, was ousted from the position last May for her opposition to Trump. In a Friday tweet, the New York GOP lawmaker took aim at President Joe Biden and the Democrats, making a baseless allegation that they are sexually attracted to children.
“The White House, Hausdems and usual pedo handles are so out of touch with the American people that instead of coming up with ANY PLAN or an emergency to address the nationwide baby food crisis, they are doubling down on sending pallets of formulas to the southern border. Joe Biden has NO PLAN,” the 3rd house Republican tweeted. “Pedo” is regularly used as a shortened version of the word pedophile.
“OK. What? You used to be the bridge builder in politics, now you call people PEDOPHILES. America, you deserve better. We deserve leaders who inspire. Politics is failing,” Kinzinger said in a Twitter post, sharing Stefanik’s post.
A few hours later, the Illinois Republican released another response to Stefanik’s baseless allegation.
“Interesting: @Liz_Cheney loses her job as conference chair here because people ‘wanted her to get out of the riot.’ @EliseStefanik calls the Democrats ‘pedophiles’ and she has a good reputation. Every GOP member needs to address this difference,” Kinzinger tweeted.
Stefanik’s communications director Palmer Brigham in a Saturday email news week accused Kinzinger, along with Cheney, of “accepting support from their Never Trump allies and proxies” at the anti-Trump group Lincoln Project. Palmer said the group is “widely recognized as a scam PAC protecting known pedophiles who exploit minors.”
“While Elise will continue to call for action and address the baby food crisis, Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney choose to say and do nothing about the baby food crisis and instead turn to the Lincoln Project pedo-pushers,” Brigham said.
An investigation of Die New York Times released in January 2021 detailed allegations of sexual misconduct by more than 20 men, each of whom had reportedly received unsolicited messages from Lincoln Project co-founder John Weaver via text messages or other digital interfaces that contained provocative or explicitly sexual advances. Some of the men were reportedly underage when the alleged molestation took place, and in several instances, Weavers’ sexual propositions reportedly offered career opportunities in return.
The Lincoln Project severed ties with Weaver and condemned his actions.
“John Weaver led a secret life built on a foundation of deception at every level. He is a predator, a liar and an abuser said in a group Explanation at the time the allegations were reported. “We are disgusted and outraged that anyone in a position of power and trust is using them for these means.”
Republicans have hit Biden and the Democrats, who control both houses of Congress, hard over the baby formula shortage. The shortage began in late 2021 as supply chain disruptions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc around the world. The baby formula situation was further aggravated when Abbott Nutrition recalled several major brands and closed its Sturgis, Michigan factory. Abbott’s recall came after the FDA warned that several babies were hospitalized and two infants died from a rare bacterial infection linked to the company’s products.
GOP lawmakers have accused Biden of sending baby food to the border for use by undocumented migrants detained there, rather than allowing it to fill shortages across the country. While immigration prisons keep stocks of baby food for the babies of undocumented migrants, they have a legal obligation to adequately feed minors in custody. This law has been in force since the late 1990s.
Though migrant detention centers are still stocked with baby food, there has been no specific effort by the White House to bring supplies to the facilities, rather than to stores where shelves are empty. FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf also said his agency is working “around the clock” to get more formula onto shelves, adding that the FDA will announce plans next week to streamline imports of baby formula, CNN reported.
Update 5/14/22 12:48 PM ET: This story has been updated with comment from Stefanik’s spokeswoman, as well as additional background to explain her comments.