Republican congressional candidate Adam Kwasman is garnering all the wrong kind of national headlines after telling a TV news reporter yesterday that he saw “fear in (the) faces” of children who he thought were being bused to an immigration holding facility in Oracle.
The children were actually American students on their way to YMCA summer camp.
USA Today, Time Magazine online, the LA Times, Politico, Washington Examiner, Huffington Post, several local papers and numerous blogs all picked up the story, which also got a brief mention on “The Rachel Maddow Show.”
The Huffington Post said Kwasman’s quick reversal when TV news reporter Brahm Resnik told him, on camera, that the bus in question didn’t have any child migrants, “could possibly be the fastest political walk-back in history.”
Kwasman, a state representative who is one of the three Republicans vying for the GOP nomination to take on Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District, told Resnik that he “saw some of the children in buses and the fear on their faces” while attending the protest of unaccompanied child migrants being bused to Oracle.
But the migrant children – part of a recent flood of immigrants from Central America – never showed up, and the bus Kwasman referred to was a school bus with children headed to a YMCA summer camp in the area.
When Resnik pointed that out to Kwasman, the candidate responded: “They were sad too.”
“Ok I apologize, I was leaving when I saw them, so if that was a school bus… that’s an error by me,” Kwasman said.
The Arizona Republic’s Laurie Roberts had perhaps the sharpest criticism of Kwasman. In a column with the sarcastic headline “We should totally elect Adam Kwasman to Congress,” the writer said if the children had fear on their faces, “it was likely because they were forced to leave their video games behind.”
She called his statements and attempted walk-back a “total lie and blatant political pandering by a guy hoping to catapult into Congress on the backs of children.”
Kirkpatrick’s campaign seized the moment, and sent out a press release today saying Kwasman has joined the other two Republican candidates competing for the chance to challenge her in “horrific blunders and political extremism.”
“These three candidates garner local and national headlines for all the wrong reasons,” the release stated.
Kwasman faces Arizona House Speaker Andy Tobin and rancher Gary Kiehne in the GOP primary.