A GOP candidate hoping to become the party’s nominee to run for Senate in Wisconsin is using disturbing and distasteful imagery to paint her Democratic opponent as a terrorist sympathizer.
State Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Wisconsin) published the imagery on her Twitter account earlier this week, suggesting that incumbent U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) sided with terrorists due to her silence on whether she plans to vote for or against confirming Gina Haspel to head the CIA.
Baldwin will likely side with her Democratic colleagues, who are joined by a handful of Republican senators as well, in opposing Haspel, whose controversial involvement in using torture may sink her chances at leading the spy agency. However, Badlwin's office has said she won’t make the announcement official until she has an opportunity to meet with Haspel personally.
The professional courtesy was apparently difficult for Vukmir to comprehend.
“Senator Baldwin would rather give the man behind the 9/11 attacks and other terrorists hugs and safe spaces than take adequate action to protect America and confirm Gina Haspel quickly,” she said in a tweet sent out on Wednesday.
Senator Baldwin would rather give the man behind the 9/11 attacks and other terrorists hugs and safe spaces than take adequate action to protect America and confirm Gina Haspel quickly. Unacceptable. #wisen https://t.co/njYuI94GHA pic.twitter.com/sCTCDpIvZs— Leah Vukmir (@LeahVukmir) May 9, 2018
In the image accompanying the tweet, Vukmir portrays herself alongside Haspel, with the words “Team America” by their side. Conversely, the image also places a photo of Baldwin next to a picture of terrorist Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The words “Team Terrorists” are juxtaposed next to her.
The implication of Vukmir’s tweet couldn’t be clearer: She believes that Baldwin sides with terrorists due to her opposition to Haspel’s nomination. Vukmir defended her assertion later on in the week, suggesting the image was created to spark a conversation.
“If this is what it takes to get people talking about Tammy Baldwin’s liberal record and her tendency to disappear and not represent us, then so be it,” she said.
The Democratic Party of Wisconsin responded to Vukmir’s tweet in a proper way.
“This is nonsense,” party spokesman Brad Bainum said. “This is what people hate about politics.”
Vukmir herself is in a contentious primary battle with Kevin Nicholson, who just this past week made controversial statements of his own when he questioned the “cognitive thought process” of military veterans who voted for Democrats.
Those comments from Nicholson are deplorable, but Vukmir’s assertions take Wisconsin politics down a dark path as well. What’s more, they’re wholly political — Vukmir is silent on whether Republicans, like Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), is on “Team Terrorists” for his decision to vote against Haspel, for example.
Political campaigns have gotten very nasty in recent years, but even this type of rhetoric should be seen as disgusting. Vukmir should delete her tweet, retract her statement, and apologize to Baldwin — and her brand of politics should be rejected by the people of Wisconsin.
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