The Democratic nominee in California's 50th Congressional District deleted a tweet criticizing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D., Calif.) coronavirus stimulus bill.
Ammar Campa-Najjar, who is running to fill the seat vacated by former Republican congressman Duncan Hunter, attacked Pelosi's plan in a now-deleted Tuesday tweet, saying voters in his district were "enraged" by the proposal and its inclusion of "unimportant items."
"From the House bill: $35 million to the JFK Center. Can someone explain why this is a priority right now?" Campa-Najjar said. "I'm getting emails from voters in #CA50 who are enraged about some of [the] price tags attached to some comparatively unimportant items in the House proposal."
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Pelosi has faced bipartisan criticism for including expensive provisions unrelated to the coronavirus crisis in her stimulus bill. In addition to conditioning bailouts on corporate diversity and decreased airline emissions, Pelosi's bill called for $35 million for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Pelosi circulated the legislation after House Democrats derailed a bipartisan bill aimed at boosting the economy amid the ongoing pandemic.
Campa-Najjar deleted his tweet on the "enraged" emails he was receiving, replacing it with a much more subdued critique of Pelosi's legislation.
"Instead of itemizing $35 million to the Kennedy Center when it's closed until May 10th, the House bill should be helping to provide relief to gig workers (like drivers) who have zero protections," Campa-Najjar said.
Campa-Najjar is currently making his second run for office in the district after narrowly falling last cycle to Hunter, who was indicted on dozens of criminal charges months before voters went to the polls. The Democrat will now face former Republican congressman Darrell Issa, who is looking to return to the House after retiring from the neighboring 49th district two years ago. The Issa campaign attacked Campa-Najjar for walking back his criticism of Pelosi, saying the Democrat will "fall in line with whatever Pelosi says."
"Ammar Campa-Najjar initially did the right thing in calling her out on it in a statement," Issa's campaign manager Eric Hollander said in a statement. "But then Campa-Najjar deleted that statement, showing he's nothing more than a Nancy Pelosi lapdog who will fall in line with whatever Pelosi says."
Campa-Najjar defended his decision to delete his initial tweet questioning the decision by Pelosi to include a $35 million provision for the Kennedy Center in the House stimulus proposal.
"That tweet was a question, after I got an answer, I replaced it with a criticism and a solution," Campa-Najjar wrote on Twitter. His campaign further told the Free Beacon that Campa-Najjar "stood by his criticism, and has never had a problem standing up to his party when he felt necessary."
Issa and Campa-Najjar emerged as the two top candidates from the district's early March jungle primary and will face off in November.