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Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), who describes herself as “pro-life,” blamed the White House and mysterious “pedo grifters” on Friday for America’s infant formula shortage — and called for denying formula to migrant’s babies.
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,” Stefanik wrote in a tweet.
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
— Elise Stefanik (@EliseStefanik) May 13, 2022
The “usual pedo grifters,” who were unidentified, appeared to be a reference to a particularly outlandish QAnon conspiracy theory that an international ring of child sex traffickers is being operated by Democratic leaders. A Stefanik spokesperson insisted to The Independent that the imagined “pedo grifters” also included Republicans.
Critics warned that such an irresponsible tweet could trigger violence against imagined enemies. A gunman opened fire in 2016 in a Washington, D.C., pizzeria that was baselessly identified as a headquarters for a supposed child trafficking operation. No one was injured. The “Pizzagate” gunman was sentenced to four years in prison.
"usual pedo grifters" is straight-up QAnon rhetoric that led a gunman to open fire in a DC pizza place believing there were children trapped in a non-existent basement.
Anyone claiming to legitimately care about children should stop using rhetoric that will get people killed. https://t.co/cl1IkYEkMs
— Mallory McMorrow (@MalloryMcMorrow) May 13, 2022
After similar tweet Friday by Stefanik calling for formula to be denied to immigrant’s infants, Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) named her the leader of a mock “Pro Starvation Caucus.”
— Ruben Gallego (@RubenGallego) May 13, 2022
Stefanik blames the Biden administration for the current shortage of infant formula in America. The administration does not manufacture formula; it’s created and sold by three major companies, which have little competition.
The shortage was triggered in part by pandemic-related supply chain issues combined with a massive safety recall by the largest formula producer, Abbott Nutrition, which was forced to close its Michigan plant earlier this year due to contamination concerns.
The U.S. has purchased formula for immigration facilities because it’s required by law to provide necessities, such as toilet paper, food and infant formula, to people being processed or detained in federal facilities.
Critics on Twitter piled on Stefanik.
One thing we are not going to do is follow House Republican leadership's suggestion that we let babies starve. This genuinely is disgusting.https://t.co/xDw6vVgnPh
— Rep. Don Beyer (@RepDonBeyer) May 13, 2022
Help me figure this out: Why would the pedo grifters want a nationwide baby formula crisis?
Don't know much about how the cabal works, but seems counterintuitive. Care to explain?
— Ben Collins (@oneunderscore__) May 13, 2022
I am sure you’re able to go ahead and identify these so-called “pedo grifters.” Don’t you have an obligation to protect the American people from such horrors?
We are all waiting…
— Katie S. Phang (@KatiePhang) May 14, 2022
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. https://t.co/dwekX3hcu1
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) May 13, 2022
I served in the Bush Admin with Elise. I try not to make politics personal. But giving a “wink / nod” to QAnon conspiracies by suggesting Democrats are pedophiles? That’s a new low. Rather than focus on “owning the libs,” she should aim to re-grow a conscience. I mean that. https://t.co/LLoRLf7IGB
— Miles Taylor (@MilesTaylorUSA) May 13, 2022
By "pedo grifters," do you mean the RNC?https://t.co/dMn0gUtBCy
— Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) May 13, 2022
Hi Elise, the facts called, and explained why there's a baby formula shortage (Hint: it has 0.0% to do with President Biden): https://t.co/9GkJVnDZJh
— Dr. Ohm 🇺🇲🌊🇺🇦 (@HereToRebuild) May 13, 2022
The shortage was prompted in part by the shutdown of a major formula production facility owned by Chicago-based Abbott Labs in Sturgis, Michigan. The shutdown, in turn, was the result of a federal investigation into reports of contaminated Similac, Alimentum and EleCare products
— Regy (@ReginaWilhelmi1) May 13, 2022
And by the way, Joe Biden does have a plan. https://t.co/p7Wj41faqA
— Andrew Weinstein (@Weinsteinlaw) May 13, 2022
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.