The Corner

Senator Mark Kirk: Tammy Duckworth is a “Naïve Fool”

Illinois senator Mark Kirk tweeted up a storm this morning in response to Democratic representative Tammy Duckworth, who is running to take his seat in November, after Duckworth suggested that politicians like Kirk were to blame for the radicalization of American Muslims.

Asked yesterday by members of the Chicago Tribune editorial board how she would mitigate the security risks posed by refugees, Duckworth said that those Muslims recently radicalized on U.S. soil “came as teenagers and they were radicalized because they’d been on those talk hotlines with ISIS. Because they see people like Mark Kirk demonizing Muslims and Islam and wanting to shut down our borders. That’s how we turn people against us.”

Duckworth, after being pressed by the moderator, tried to walk back her comments, and said she meant that those Muslims “were radicalized by ISIS, who are attempting to get U.S. politicians and the United States to react in fear.”

“Donald Trump is out there wanting to shut down all Muslims from entering the country. We cannot go back against our values,” she added.

Kirk charged back on Twitter this morning: Duckworth is a “naïve fool.”

Other tweets followed quickly after. Kirk slammed Duckworth for living in a “fantasy world” and exhibiting a “misunderstanding” that would “put innocent American lives at risk.”

Kirk, one of the most vulnerable Republican senators in the 2016 cycle, has been an outspoken advocate of placing a moratorium on the president’s Syrian refugee-resettlement program, arguing that that the U.S. should not open its borders until credible screening measures to detect fake Syrian passports are instituted. Duckworth, for her part, has called on the president to admit 100,000 Syrian refugees by the end of the year.

Kirk’s team has capitalized on that contrast, making national security and defense a centerpiece of his campaign, and Duckworth’s comments on radicalization could offer them a valuable opening to drive that message home. Duckworth, of course, is not yet the Democratic nominee, but with the backing of the DSCC, she’s considered the overwhelming favorite to win the March 15 primary.

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