For a second day in a row, the White House used its official Twitter account to take aim at Democratic lawmakers who have spoken out against its immigration policies.
The latest targets were Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), who announced last week that they would introduce legislation to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an agency that has drawn the ire of a growing number of Democrats.
“.@repblumenauer, why are you supporting something that would protect drug smugglers?” a White House tweet said. “You must not know what CBP and ICE really do.”
The tweet included a link to a recent press release about the seizure of a large amount of crystal methamphetamine by Customs and Border Protection.
In a similar tweet, Pocan was asked why he is “supporting human smuggling.”
“You must not know that ICE serves as the leading U.S. law enforcement agency responsible for the fight against it,” said the tweet, which provided a link to an ICE Web page about “moving human beings as cargo.”
Tuesday’s tweets came a day after the White House took aim at two potential 2020 Democratic presidential contenders: Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.).
While President Trump routinely uses his personal Twitter account to tangle with lawmakers, the White House has been criticized for using official social media accounts for partisan purposes. Trump has said repeatedly in recent days that he thinks immigration will be a potent issue for Republicans in this year’s congressional elections.
In tweets posted Monday afternoon, the White House defended immigration authorities and called out Warren and Harris, who have denounced the administration for separating migrant families who cross the border.
“.@SenWarren, why are you supporting criminals moving weapons, drugs, and victims across our nation’s borders? You must not know what ICE really does,” the White House tweeted, linking to a Web page for ICE’s Border Enforcement Security Task Force.
Warren has joined calls to abolish ICE, saying at a rally over the weekend that the immigration system must be rebuilt “from top to bottom.”
A separate tweet from the White House addressed Harris on Monday. “.@SenKamalaHarris, why are you supporting the animals of MS-13? You must not know what ICE really does,” @WhiteHouse tweeted, linking to an ICE press release about the deportation of a man with ties to the MS-13 gang.
Harris replied: “As a career prosecutor, I actually went after gangs and transnational criminal organizations. That’s being a leader on public safety. What is not, is ripping babies from their mothers.”
Harris was attorney general of California and district attorney of San Francisco before she was elected to the Senate in 2016.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), another lawmaker considering a 2020 presidential bid, also spoke out against ICE on Tuesday, noting in a tweet that he voted against its establishment in 2002.
“Now, it is time to do what Americans overwhelmingly want: abolish the cruel, dysfunctional immigration system we have today and pass comprehensive immigration reform,” Sanders said.
In announcing his legislation with Pocan last week, Blumenauer said that “Trump and his administration have made the agency so toxic that it’s time to abolish ICE and start over.”
Blumenauer — who represents Portland, Ore., which has seen some of the most aggressive anti-ICE protests in recent weeks — has also been a vocal opponent of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy that has led to family separations at the border.
“Trump perpetrated a human rights violation,” he said in a recent tweet. “Families ripped apart. Kids detained in cages. No plan to bring them back together. This crisis is NOT over. Demand an end to Trump’s cruel policies.”
Pocan was quick to respond to the White House tweet Tuesday afternoon with one of his own.
“FACT: @realDonaldTrump has so misused ICE that the agency can no longer effectively target human trafficking & security threats. Even ICE’s own agents agree,” he wrote. “Under my legislation, these responsibilities would be transferred to other agencies that already fight human trafficking.”
David Weigel contributed to this report.