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Election 2018: Kipnis, Watson Coleman Spar Over Tweets On Trump, Congress

U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman is being challenged for the seat by township resident Daryl Kipnis.


The two major candidates for the 12th U.S. Congressional District seat sparred recently over tweets one made criticizing Pres. Donald Trump and the Republican-led Congress.

Republican challenger Daryl Kipnis took exception to an Aug. 22 tweet posted by the Democratic incumbent, Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, in which she wrote, “For a Congress so full of men it’s incredible that we don’t have the balls to check a president that asks aides to violate protocol and law, praises dictators from Russia to the Philippines and torpedos (sic) relationships with our allies.”

Calling Watson Coleman’s tweet “nasty and sexist,” Kipnis wrote in a release, “Sadly, my opponent is once again fanning flames of discord rather than doing her job of representing the hard-working people in New Jersey’s 12th District. She would rather spend her time grandstanding and demonizing her political opponents and our president than helping to make the lives of her constituents any better as they struggle to survive in a state that her party is driving into the ground with Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy.”

“On one hand, she constantly condemns the president for his use of social media and the tone he uses, while at the same time, she is doing the exact same thing,” Kipnis wrote. “While she calls out President Trump for every conceivable ‘wrong’ she and the Democrats can come up with at the spur of the moment, she turns a blind eye to the proven corruption she and other Democrats, like U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, have wrought on New Jersey. Many of her donors, supporters, and ‘friends’ have been convicted of real crimes in the state, padding their pockets with ill-gotten gains during their supposed ‘public service’ while Trenton residents fight to drink clean water, and avoid bullets fired from illegal guns by the criminals that have flooded that city’s streets for years.”

Kipnis did not specify the “proven corruption” in which Watson Coleman has engaged.

“Sometimes, the only place you should look to weed out graft and corruption, is in your own mirror,” Kipnis wrote in the release. “It’s hard to take such blustering seriously from someone who cannot keep her own house in order. We need to have someone in Washington, D.C. that is serious about the business of the people in this district and is working daily to see that their best interests are being heard in our nation’s capital. That is exactly what I intend on doing when I go to congress and what I will continue to do for as long as I serve the citizens of New Jersey’s 12th District.

Watson Coleman’s camp hit back.

“The Congresswoman’s message was pretty clear,” campaign spokesman Sean Darcy said in an email. “Throughout her career in public service, Bonnie Watson Coleman has shown time and again that she will stand against injustice and that she will do whatever it takes to get things done for the people she represents. She doesn’t speak in rhetorical riddles, she doesn’t hide her meaning and she doesn’t run from problems. Her tweet makes it clear that she is asking for people to put partisanship to the side and do the same.”

“Our opponent should go through the President of the United States’ twitter account, on-the-record statements and recordings that have been made public and then come back to us,” Darcy wrote. “Rep. Watson Coleman doesn’t run from fights and she will never shrink from her responsibility and if it takes some plain language to get the point across then so be it, but the message remains the same.”

Kipnis also took aim at another tweet posted by Watson Coleman, this one earlier in the day on Aug. 22: “If making a mockery of the emoluments clause wasn’t enough; if comforting confederates and nazis wasn’t enough; if rampant racism, collaborating with Russians, and being implicated in federal elections crimes wasn’t enough, then WHAT IS ENOUGH for Congress to act?”

“My opponent accuses the president of ‘comforting Nazis’, yet neither she nor Gov. Phil Murphy, her good friend and former U.S. Ambassador to Germany, can explain why Jakiw Palij, the last remaining Nazi war criminal residing in the United States, was permitted to live in the comfort of his home in Queens for years, until the proactive Trump administration finally deported him this week,” Kipnis wrote.

Palij was deported to Germany after living in the United States since 1949, becoming a citizen in 1957. According to published reports, he had remained in the country since his citizenship was revoked in 20o3 because none of the European countries to which he could have been deported would accept him. Murphy was the U.S. Ambassador to Germany from 2009 to 2013.

In another email statement, Darcy said the Watson Coleman camp expects “our opponent to do anything he can between now and Election Day to try and draw attention to his campaign and it has become clear that he believes the way to do that is to attack the Congresswoman.  Unfortunately, in 2018, we have seen time and again how easy it is to make uninformed and inflammatory statements on social media simply for the sake of trying to get attention, and we do not plan on answering every wild attack our opponent can cram into the correct amount of characters in a post.”

“The fact that our opponent has aligned himself with Dr. Sebastian Gorka, a man deemed so extreme he was even banned from the Trump White House, should be a great indicator for everyone involved of the depths he is willing to sink between now and November,” Darcy said.

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In a March 28, 2018 post on his campaign’s Facebook page, Kipnis posted several photos of he and Gorka, and wrote, “Proud to join Dr. Sebastian Gorka in addressing the huge crowd of patriots gathered to support my great friend John McCann for Congress!” In responding to a comment on his post praising Gorka, Kipnis wrote, “He is an absolute genius!”

The post was still on the Facebook page as of Aug. 25.

Gorka, a former Trump advisor who was reportedly forced out of his position in August 2017, has been linked to a Hungarian organization – Vitézi Rend – that has been called a Nazi-allied group. A report in The Forward charged that Gorka is a “sworn member” of the group whose founder was a known racialist and anti-Semite, while another report said that he “expressed support in the past for a Hungarian far-right paramilitary group with overt anti-Semitic tendencies.” A story in The Times of Israel reported, with photos, that Gorka wore the uniform and medals of the Vitézi Rend at Trump’s inauguration.

Gorka, who has denied the charges against the organization, has said he wore the uniform and medals as an homage to his father.

“Rep. Watson Coleman has been on the frontlines fighting for families throughout the district, standing against the hateful rhetoric and divisive policies coming out of the Trump Administration and working every day to ensure pay equity and a high quality education for every child,” Darcy wrote. “Our opponent’s wild accusations and his eagerness to make inflammatory accusations are actually very important simply because they help to shine a light on exactly why he is the wrong person to represent the district.  The residents of the Twelfth Congressional District deserve someone who will stand against all of the hate emanating out of Washington, not someone who will try to fan those flames for political gain.”

 

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