Tweeting a link to a Deadspin story about Kirk mocking the mixed-race heritage of Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Conway wrote, “The same Mark Kirk that unendorsed his party’s presidential nominee and called him out in paid ads? Gotcha. Good luck.”
The same Mark Kirk that unendorsed his party's presidential nominee and called him out in paid ads? Gotcha. Good luck. https://t.co/IV7miL317s
— Kellyanne Conway (@KellyannePolls) October 28, 2016
Kirk has struggled to stake out a position on Donald Trump during the 2016 race, first saying he would “absolutely” support the party’s nominee before rescinding his support in June over Trump’s attacks on the “Mexican” heritage of an Indiana-born federal judge.
“Donald Trump's latest statements, in context with past attacks on Hispanics, women and the disabled like me, make it certain that I cannot and will not support my party's nominee for President regardless of the political impact on my candidacy or the Republican Party,” Kirk said at the time.
Yet his remarks at Thursday’s debate are strikingly similar to the Trump comments that made him withdraw his endorsement.
After Duckworth, whose mother is Thai-Chinese and father was born in the U.S., spoke of her family’s decades of military service to the U.S., Kirk snarked, "I had forgotten that your parents came all the way from Thailand to serve George Washington.”
Both Trump and Kirk's criticisms imply that immigrants to the U.S. do not truly qualify as Americans.
Kirk has lagged far behind Duckworth in the historically Democratic-leaning state's Senate race. In one campaign ad promoting his opposition to Trump, Kirk also highlighted his support for abortion rights and holding a vote on President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee.