Multiple House Democrats on Friday criticized House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (N.Y.) after she issued a tweet blasting the White House for sending baby formula to migrant families at the southern border amid a nationwide shortage.
“Joe Biden continues to put America LAST by shipping pallets of baby formula to the southern border as American families face empty shelves. This is unacceptable. American mothers and their babies shouldn’t suffer because of the #BidenBorderCrisis,” Stefanik tweeted Friday morning.
Stefanik gave birth to a baby boy last August, and earlier in the week she said on Fox News that she could imagine “no more harrowing crisis for parents” than struggling to feed their children.
Her implication that the formula shipments should be cut off for migrant families, however, crossed the line for many Democrats.
“So @EliseStefanik what are exactly are you asking here? Do we just starve these babies?” Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) wrote on Twitter. “The parents are locked up they can’t go shop for an alternative. So you are asking for the government to deliberately starve children? It’s gross, it’s anti-American to even think that.”
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) also accused Stefanik of calling for starving children.
“If you are in Congress and propose starving babies to death you deserve to have your name trend. #EliseStarvefanik,” he tweeted.
During a White House briefing, press secretary Jen Psaki was asked about the tweet. She defended the administration’s move to provide migrants with baby formula, saying officials were following the law.
“There’s something called the Flores Statement Settlement, which she may or may not be aware of, that’s been in place since 1997. It requires adequate food and elsewhere specifies age appropriateness, hence formula for kids under the age of one,” Psaki said during the briefing.
“[U.S. Customs and Border Protection] is following the law, that law that has been in place and been followed, by the way by the past — every administration since 1997. So this has been a law in the United States for a quarter century. It’s been followed by every administration … I would also note that we also think it’s morally the right thing to do,” she added.
Following the briefing, Stefanik slammed Psaki’s comments, saying in a statement that the White House had “abysmally failed” in addressing the baby formula shortage.
“Months ago, I called for the [Food and Drug Agency] to take action on this looming crisis, and the Biden administration failed to provide a timely, substantive response,” she said.
She later issued another tweet, which again caught the attention of some Democrats.
“The White House, House Dems, & usual pedo grifters are so out of touch with the American people that rather than present ANY PLAN or urgency to address the nationwide baby formula crisis, they double down on sending pallets of formula to the southern border. Joe Biden has NO PLAN,” she wrote.
Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) slammed her use of “pedo grifters,” calling it “undignified, disgusting, and dangerous.”
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) claimed she was trivializing pedophilia.
“Dear @EliseStefanik: As a former prosecutor, I know that pedophilia is a serious crime that harms the most vulnerable. You trivialize pedophilia and victims of pedophilia by randomly and repeatedly calling people pedophiles. You should be ashamed and you should apologize,” Lieu wrote on Twitter.
Asked for comment, her office referred The Hill to Stefanik’s earlier statement following Psaki’s briefing and told The Hill that “pedo grifters” was a reference to the anti-Trump GOP group the Lincoln Project.