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 “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.
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.”
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.