Progressive Democrat Jessica Cisneros on Monday took aim at her primary opponent Rep. Henry Cuellar for statements the incumbent and his campaign made over the weekend on President Donald Trump's push for war with Iran, charging Cuellar is putting the interests of his corporate donors over those of his constituents.
"It’s not that surprising if you look closely: Rep. Cuellar is bought and paid for by the military industrial complex," said Cisneros. "He has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from the defense industry, including contractors like Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and BAE Systems."
Cuellar, a conservative Democrat, said Friday he supported the assassination of Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani, which was ordered by Trump on January 3.
"The death of Soleimani could diffuse the power of the Quds Force and is a necessary step in combating the threat of Iran," said Cuellar. "The administration should work with Congress to ensure we continue to protect our national security and international interests."
HuffPost reporter Daniel Marans wondered at Cuellar's positioning to the right of the party.
"There are Democrats flat out opposing Trump and broader war on terror (AOC, Bernie, Ro); those asking questions about it and criticizing execution (Pete, Biden); and then there are apparently people outright supporting it like Rep. Henry Cuellar in Texas," tweeted Marans.
The Cuellar comments were decried by Cisneros, who accused Cuellar of taking a position indistinguishable from that of the president.
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POLL: WHO SAID IT?— Jessica Cisneros (@JCisnerosTX) January 4, 2020
Trump's decision to launch an unauthorized air strike in the Middle East was "a necessary step in combating the threat of Iran."
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After the pushback, Cuellar's spokesperson Colin Strother accused Cisneros of terrorist sympathies.
"This is some dark stuff," tweeted Waleed Shahid, spokesperson for Justice Democrats. "Rep. Cuellar's spokesperson accuses primary challenger Jessica Cisneros of 'standing with Iran and defending terrorism.'"
This is some dark stuff. @RepCuellar's spokesperson accuses primary challenger @JCisnerosTX of "standing with Iran and defending terrorism."— Waleed Shahid (@_waleedshahid) January 6, 2020
Representative Cuellar supports Trump's strikes against Iran and is a DCCC-backed incumbent in a deeply blue district. pic.twitter.com/xp8Y13Kdfo
In June 2019, Strother told Common Dreams that Cisneros was in the thrall of powerful, shadowy groups from the "upper-city" and New York. He refused to elaborate on who he meant in the accusation when pushed.
In her statement Monday, Cisneros made clear she wasn't going to stand by while Cuellar chooses corporate interests and war over the people of his district.
"We have so many veterans of our previous wars in our district who still fail to receive health care and basic services," said Cisneros. "Instead of using his position to advocate for them, Henry Cuellar is picking corporate special interests over his constituents—and proving once again he's Trump's favorite Democrat."