The moderate facade may have just shattered unintentionally for Democratic senatorial candidate Mark Kelly of Arizona.
A bombshell Thursday report from The Washington Free Beacon revealed that the deputy press secretary of the Kelly campaign, T.J. L’Heureux, was found to have made radical anti-law enforcement remarks in recent months, referring to the police in vulgar and derogatory terms on Twitter in August.
“You worthless f—ing pigs,” L’Heueux wrote in apparent response to a video of Chicago Police Department officers getting physical with demonstrators at one of the many, at-times violent, Black Lives Matter protests that punctuated the late spring and early summer following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.
WARNING: The following video contains graphic language that some viewers will find offensive.
🚨@CaptMarkKelly has been trying to dodge his record of supporting anti-police radical Dems for weeks.
Now a new report shows his spokesman called cops “worthless f—ing pigs” *this summer*
— Caroline Anderegg (@cfanderegg) October 15, 2020
The since-deleted tweet was posted Aug. 17, exactly one week before L’Heureux officially joined the Arizona campaign.
A Western Journal inquiry forwarded Thursday morning sought to clarify whether the Kelly campaign was aware of L’Heureux’s statement at the time of his hiring, and how a red flag remark of that magnitude could be missed in subsequent social media background checks if not.
The Western Journal also asked whether the campaign might oppose the remarks and throw its support behind the law enforcement officers so recently attacked by one of the key pieces of its communications apparatus.
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Kelly and his campaign have not yet responded to requests for comment on the controversy.
Incumbent Republican Sen. Martha McSally, for her part, was anything but hesitant in rebuking the remark, quick to point out just how radical L’Heureux’s hiring proved the Kelly campaign to be.
“These comments are disgusting and were made just one week before Mark Kelly hired this person,” McSally campaign communications director Caroline Anderegg told The Western Journal in an emailed statement. “It’s just further proof that Mark embraces extreme anti-law enforcement ideas and rhetoric. Anything he tries to say to the contrary is a bunch of hot air.”
An astronaut, Navy veteran and former first-responder, Kelly has fashioned himself as a moderate in efforts to win the now-purple Arizona, peddling vague center-left policy prescriptions in moments with the media.
Kelly’s official campaign website indicates he is a first-time candidate with a roughly seven-year history in political organization, however — and among his primary platform issues are progressive mainstays such as fighting climate change, eliminating the gender “wage gap” and working toward gun control in light of a 2011 mass shooting that severely wounded his wife, former Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
The candidate was also notably undecided on the issue of President Donald Trump’s impeachment throughout the course House and Senate proceedings on the subject, announcing only after the effort failed on Feb. 5 that he “would have voted to find him guilty on both charges.”
Still, his moderate facade seems to have paid off thus far in the realm of public opinion, with RealClearPolitics polling aggregates giving Kelly an 8 percentage point edge on McSally as of Wednesday.
On a statewide media call this past August, Arizona GOP leadership was intent on making clear its position that Kelly was a radical leftist, in line with increasingly progressive Democratic Party orthodoxy, regardless of the establishment media narrative surrounding him.
“The media perpetuate these falsehoods that these are actually moderates when they are radical, radical leftist Democrats that are running to lead our country,” state GOP Chairwoman Kelli Ward told The Western Journal.
She accused figures such as Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders of normalizing previously unthinkable progressive policy inside the party.
Despite ideological differences he described as major on the primary trail, Sanders endorsed 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in an Aug. 18 address at the party’s national convention, suggesting the nominee had adopted enough progressive policy proposals to earn widespread support from the far left in his fight to unseat Trump.
“Many of the ideas we fought for, that just a few years ago were considered ‘radical,’ are now mainstream,” Sanders said at the time. “But let us be clear: If Donald Trump is re-elected, all the progress we have made will be in jeopardy.”
The statement rightly led Ward and Republican state Treasurer Kimberly Yee the following week to accuse swing-state Democrats of “hiding” their radical progressive tendencies in an attempt to “scam” voters.
“[Biden] doesn’t want to showcase what he really believes in and he has that in common with Mark Kelly,” Yee said. “They are hiding from the voters and the electorate — not only in Arizona but across the country — where they really stand on these very important issues.”
“Voters know better and they will be able to see through the scam,” the treasurer said.
“They’re going to be able to vote the right way come November.”
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