The White House is using its official Twitter handle to target Democratic lawmakers who have criticized President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, drawing complaints that government resources are being used to undercut potential 2020 presidential rivals. The White House Twitter handle, which has more than 17.3 million followers, falsely accused California Sen. Kamala Harris on Monday of “supporting the animals of MS-13,” a violent gang that the president has sought to eradicate. In a separate tweet, the White House account erroneously asserted Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren was “supporting criminals moving weapons, drugs, and victims” across the border.
Watchdog groups said the use of the Twitter handle didn’t appear to violate any government laws but represented a politicization of the social media accounts at a time when Republicans and Democrats are engaged in a vigorous debate over the nation’s immigration laws and the separation of migrant children from their families at the U.S.-Mexican border.
Responding on Twitter, Harris pointed to her work as a prosecutor who “went after gangs and transnational criminal organizations. That’s being a leader on public safety. What is not, is ripping babies from their mothers.” Warren assailed Trump’s immigration policies during a rally last Saturday, saying Trump seemed to think “the only way to have immigration rules is to rip parents from their families, is to treat rape victims and refugees like terrorists and to put children in cages. This is ugly. This is wrong.”