Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Democrat from Florida, is standing by statements she made earlier this week in calling Ken Cuccinelli, the Trump-appointed acting U.S. citizenship and immigration services director, a white supremacist, The Hill reported.
“Ken Cuccinelli is the tip of the spear of a white supremacist ideology that is the thread of the President’s immigration policy targeting people of color,” Wasserman Schultz said when asked Friday about her past accusations. She made the comments on CNN on Friday morning.
Wasserman Schultz then proceeded to list actions the Donald Trump administration had taken since the president’s first days in office to present day actions in what she suggested have proved that white supremacist ideology comes from the top down. She cited his 2017 executive order that limited immigration from several Muslim-majority nations and his more recent actions that resulted in the separation of children from their parents along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The president, who, since the beginning of his campaign for the Oval Office, has insisted he would build a stronger wall along the U.S. and Mexico border, has often faced roadblocks in doing so. Last month, his administration claimed the proposed wall would stop immigrants from lighting fires in what it called an “environmental crisis.”
Her comments Friday showed that the former head of the DNC was prepared to double down on remarks that she reportedly made earlier in the week at Wednesday’s House Oversight and Reform subcommittee hearing. Wasserman Schultz pressed the acting secretary, who is reportedly being considered to be placed in the role of acting director of homeland security, about the Trump administration’s decision to deport undocumented immigrants who were in the U.S. undergoing medical treatment for serious illnesses. As The Hill reported, the administration has reversed course on that plan.
“You and Mr. Trump don’t want anyone who looks or talks differently than Caucasian Americans to be allowed into this country,” Wasserman Schultz reportedly said to Cuccinelli on Wednesday.
Cuccinelli attempted to interrupt in an effort to deny Wasserman Schultz’s accusation, and said that her statements were “defamatory,” but the Florida lawmaker continued.
“You want to block all immigration and make life harder for immigrants, and you have demonstrated that you will pursue this heinous white supremacist ideology at all costs, even if it means making critically ill children your collateral damage in the process and this goes to a comprehensive pattern of harm at the USCIS under your leadership,” Wasserman Schultz said.
Cuccinelli pushed back against the claims in an interview with FOX News earlier on Friday, and said that the accusations she leveled against him and the president were false. He claimed that while he was under oath, Wasserman Schultz was “protected to lie” by the speech and debate clause of the U.S. Constitution, which he added affords lawmakers protections to say whatever they want.
“I don’t think the founders every intended it to be a shield for lying and trying to plant narratives out in the public and that is what she was doing,” Cuccinelli said during an appearance on FOX & Friends.